Host Students’ Perspectives of Intercultural Contact in an Irish University

Ireland“Given the increasing numbers of international students in Ireland and the lack of attention afforded to host culture students in existing research on intercultural relations in higher education, a grounded theory study was conducted in an Irish university exploring host (Irish) students’ perspectives on intercultural contact. The study focused on students’ construction of cultural difference within the educational environment, the factors influencing intercultural contact, and students’ experiences of such contact. The findings suggest that although nationality and age are used to differentiate students, the concept of ‘maturity’—underpinned by values and behaviors relating to academic motivations, responsibilities, and authority—is central to students’ construction of cultural difference on campus. Diverse factors identified as impacting upon students’ intercultural acquaintance prospects and relational development are presented and discussed. The findings highlight the complexity of promoting meaningful intercultural contact among students and also suggest conditions to foster intercultural contact based on students’ feedback.” (Abstract)

[Ciarán Dunne, Journal of Studies in International Education, 2009]

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