International experiences and the development of intercultural sensitivity among university students.

  1. Rosa M. Rodríguez-Izquierdo 1
  1. 1 Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla
Educación XX1: Revista de la Facultad de Educación

ISSN: 1139-613X 2174-5374

Year of publication: 2022

Volume: 25

Issue: 1

Pages: 93-117

Type: Article

DOI: 10.5944/EDUXX1.30143 DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openOpen access editor

More publications in: Educación XX1: Revista de la Facultad de Educación


International cultural immersion experiences are deemed one of the most effective ways to prepare multicultural and global citizens. The purpose of the study was to determine: (1) first-year and final-year university students’ levels of Intercultural Sensitivity (henceforth IS); (2) if there was a relationship between IS and experiences of intercultural contact; and (3) the variables that might predict the development of IS. A longitudinal method and a correlational-predictive design was used. The sample comprised 1645 (52.5% women and 47.5% men) undergraduate students from 8 public universities and one private university in Andalusia (Spain) with a mean age of 23.29 (SD = 4.99). The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) was usedto measure IS, and the Intercultural Experiences Inventory (IEI) was administered to explore students’ intercultural experiences. Findings highlighted that there is little change in the IDI scores among first-year and final-year students, and most students were found to be in the intermediate stages of intercultural development (the minimization stage according to Bennett’s model, characterized by the widespread belief that everyone is quite similar). The lack of development found in the students’ IS could have something to do with the lack of opportunity to reflect and think about cultural differences. Positive correlations were found between IS and mobility experiences and intercultural friendships, and negative correlations were found with the number of intercultural interactions and language knowledge. Having mobility experiences, being female, and having friends from other cultures were predictive variables of IS. Finally, the educational implications are discussed.

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