Graduate Institute of Educational Leadership and Development, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
With the current trend of higher education study abroad exchanges, opportunities for travelling and studying in another country are at an all-time high. These exchanges are noted for providing both academic and sociocultural benefits. However, these heightened opportunities have also started to cause parents and academics to wonder about the quality of such experiences. Literature suggests that the students’ personality and their intercultural competencies play an important role in the success of their study abroad experience. In Taiwan, due to the decreasing number of local incoming students, higher education institutions are gearing up in becoming quality venues of study abroad programs. Hence, understanding how study abroad students are doing in Taiwan is quite crucial in attracting future enrollees. In light of these issues, the current paper presents the findings of a quantitative study accomplished during the fall semester of 2014 in Taiwan. A total of 888 volunteer foreign students participated in a survey which includes the 44 items Big-Five Personality Inventory (BFI) and the 20 item Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES). In addition, the frequency and satisfaction of both academic and social activities are also asked. Results were then tabulated and computed using the software SPSS. Findings show that the various IES factors are positively correlated with BFI factors with the exception of neuroticism, which is negatively correlated. In addition, results also show that there exists a significant gender difference among the students’ interaction relax and interaction management factors, and also with the personalities of conscientiousness, openness, and neuroticism. Lastly, results show that there are significant differences in all the IES and BFI factors with regards to the different students’ enrolment ethnic categories and academic and social activities. Such results indicate that both academic and social activities during study abroad are much dependent on the students’ personality and their intercultural competencies. Hence, it is suggested that prior/arrival intercultural workshops be accomplished in order to ease the adjustment process.
Keywords: study abroad; interaction-relax; interaction-management; gender differences; personality