Publication Date

1996

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Janaki Tschannerl

Abstract

This paper explores the experiences of teachers and students coming from or going to Central and Eastern Europe as participants in international exchange programs. The paper identifies potentially problematic issues such as intercultural communication, cross cultural adjustment, conflicting values, and differing educational policies. It then suggests ways to better prepare participants so that they can get the most out of such cross cultural-educational experiences.

This project was based on a survey of cross-cultural communication and adjustment literature as well as in-depth interviews with participants of international exchanges in the CEE region. The literature survey highlights theories of Edward T. Hall and Geert Hofstede. The interviews identify common experiences and issues related to the CEE region.

In spite of encountering some variation across the region, the following educational issues were identified as requiring adjustment on the part of students or teachers: quantities and types of homework assigned, level of formality in teacher/student relationships, and approaches to academic integrity. Interviewees also gave the following practical suggestions to prepare future participants: approach your experience with openness, clarify your expectations, and learn about the country you are visiting prior to departing from your own.

This paper can be used to identify current educational characteristics of the CEE region. Its conclusions draw on the experiences of those familiar with the region and can be modified for use in pre-departure preparations.

Disciplines

International and Comparative Education

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