Intercultural Consciousness and Education in Study Abroad Programs

In this workshop, I will illustrate how institutions of higher education can prepare directors and students prior to study abroad experiences so that students develop intercultural awareness when in the host country. I will also provide directors with practical strategies to ensure a transformative experience for students. Many of the most common incidents experienced by students overseas are behavior-induced and therefore preventable. In reminding students to behave appropriately, while reflecting on and discussing with them the culture of the host country, study abroad directors aim to prevent incidents of cross-cultural miscommunication and conflict. Their responsibility is to assist students to explore and understand what defines socially acceptable behavior and what describes culturally inappropriate conduct. In their mentoring, directors take students through two critical stages: educating them to transition from being comfortable in their own ways to feel uncomfortable before acknowledging and adopting new ways when abroad. Directors’ duty during a study abroad program is to lead students to acquire intercultural citizenship. In this workshop, I will refer to the Development Model of Intercultural Sensitivity which theorizes how students acquire intercultural sensitivity moving from denial to integration through a series of steps (Cushner, K., McClelland, A., & Safford, P. 2012). Each stage describes a cognitive and psychological structure that is communicated through attitudes and behaviors (Bennett, M. J., 2011). Intercultural consciousness is fundamental in education to address current issues such as migration and cultural identity, diversity and inclusion, and social justice.

Intercultural Education

2019 Special Focus: "Learning to Make a Social Difference"

Workshop Presentation

  • Flavia Laviosa
    • Senior Lecturer, Italian Studies, Wellesley College, United States United States
    • Originally from Italy, I have studied in Italy, the UK and USA. I teach Italian Studies, train language instructors, develop tests and review foreign language programs in academic institutions.