Hsu, Tsu-Chia, Julia*
Lunghwa University of Science and Technology, Taiwan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Recently, more and more universities are focusing on short-term study abroad programs. However, the actual advantages of such programs have not yet been empirically tested. The primary purpose of this study is to investigate whether such study abroad programs can influence participants and improve an individual’s intercultural competence. Using both reflections found in journals and follow-up interviews, the study aims to reflect the key factors that contribute to the intercultural development of the study participants. This paper elicits and examines the students’ study abroad experiences, particularly in the minimal impacts on the levels of intercultural competence and results of the 2011 summer study abroad program. It is hoped that future study abroad programs will find that this new approach can not only help college students learn better but that it will also shed light on the importance of intercultural competence through dialogue. Further studies are recommended with respect to the duration of the study abroad programs and the quantity/quality of the various activities involved in the enhancement of the students’ intercultural competence.
Keywords: study abroad; college students; globalization; cultural awareness; intercultural competence; higher education