Publication Date

5-2010

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

William W. Hoffa

Abstract

Establishment of an intercultural/international Living Learning Community (LLC) is one of the feasible and effective tools used by higher educational institutions so as to explore internationalizing their institutions. However, because of the inherent unique and complex characteristics and diverse student populations, it is not easy to develop a successful residential community. The main purpose of this paper is to investigate the influencing factors of intercultural sensitivity development on American and international students who reside in the Cultural Exchange Community (CEC) at Clemson University. Surveys and informal interviews were conducted in 2009 and the data was analyzed with two conceptual frameworks in mind: the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity and Experiential Learning. The research first examines residents’ developmental stages, then studies residents’ expectations and satisfaction with the CEC, and finally works to identify influencing factors on residents’ development.

Overall, residents showed positive development of intercultural sensitivity after four months and thought that the community met their expectations. Key factors for changes in resident’s intercultural sensitivity development are personal interaction, programming, and community climate. Other potentially influencing factors include language proficiency, time issues, and individual personalities. This study also discovered that the CEC would benefit from a better environment and structure where residents can reflect on their experiences and complete their learning cycle while still having the time to pursue individual activities and assume leadership roles in the community. This research is beneficial for existing LLCs to further develop their communities by using identified influential factors as assessment tools, as well as for institutions that are in search of guidance and the means to internationalize their campus.

Disciplines

International and Intercultural Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication

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