Publication Date

5-2009

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

David Shallenberger

Abstract

Higher institutions are making an effort to internationalize campuses to prepare students to work in a global society. My internship site, the University of Arkansas Fayetteville, developed a new program called the International Living Learning Community Program in collaboration with University Housing and the Office for International Students and Scholars in 2006. This program is designed for domestic students and international students to live and learn from one another in a residential hall named Holcombe Hall. When I was designing programs for the International Living Learning Community (ILLC), I began to wonder what residents learn and achieve from the special international environment at Holcombe Hall.

In Holcombe Hall the percentage of international students is higher than in other dormitories. There are many international and intercultural focused programs that promote interaction with people from different countries and cultures in daily life. This research project sought to determine if the ILLC has an impact on residents’ intercultural sensitivity, which is represented as “an active desire to motivate themselves to understand, appreciate, and accept differences among cultures” (Chen & Starosta, 1996).

The following sub-questions elaborate on the effects of ILLC: 1) How does engagement with people from different countries and cultures affect residents’ development of intercultural sensitivity? 2) Is the length of living in the International Living Learning Community associated with higher levels of residents’ intercultural sensitivity? 3) How does their intercultural background in the past affect their intercultural sensitivity skills? The survey used in this study is based on the Intercultural Sensitivity Scale developed by Guo-Ming Chen and William J. Starosta, and indicates that living in the ILLC impacted the development of their intercultural sensitivity. The study indicates that it is probable that the residents’ past international and intercultural backgrounds, as well as their personal desires and motivations, affected their level of intercultural sensitivity.

Disciplines

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | International and Comparative Education | International and Intercultural Communication

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