Building Intercultural Competences for Students Who Study Abroad

  • Ana Kanareva-Dimitrovska
  • Ann Carroll-Bøgh
Keywords: intercultural education, intercultural competences, student mobility, study abroad, intercultural training


People do not always match one’s prior expectations, and people from countries different from one’s own often do not conform to our stereotypical expectations. This is no less true for students who choose to study abroad as part of their degree programmes. While students may be interculturally competent in one context, they may be considerably less so in another. A single semester exchange can expose them to a wide array of encounters for which they are unprepared, both at their host universities and in their destination countries.

There is much discussion about how best to help intercultural learning in the context of mobility. This paper draws on findings from third-level incoming and outgoing student mobilities over a four-year period. The purpose is to highlight insights into the cognitive and emotive challenges, motivations, and reflections that students experience before, during, and after studying abroad. Developing and implementing an online platform for intercultural training will enable future exchange students to prepare and engage actively in all three phases of this journey. It is expected that active and voluntary participation and engagement in such
training will help to promote students´ plurilingual and intercultural competences as well as trigger personal and professional growth. This has the potential to be a win-win experience not just for the individual student but also for their subsequent career journey when navigating a knowledge-based global economy.

Section A