Publication Date

1999

Abstract

The paper discusses the cross-cultural adaptation processes of U.S. American university students enrolled in three study abroad programs in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Two components of cross-cultural adaptation, intercultural sensitivity and cross-cultural effectiveness, are examined with the use of a questionnaire, semi-formal interviews, content analysis, and observation. Milton J. Bennett's A Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity is used to examine the levels of intercultural sensitivity found among the students. The model was particularly useful due to its capacity to explain differences between the adaptation processes of oppressed and unoppressed people. Substantially lower levels of intercultural sensitivity and cross-cultural effectiveness were found among the students of the one program that does not provide intercultural training and has an African American majority. Possible reasons for the differences are discussed as well as questions for future research. The paper could be useful to universities and study abroad programs that wish to develop programming that more effectively meets the personal needs of a multicultural student body.

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