This research project investigates the experiences of Japanese university students who participate in virtual exchange programs and examines how they reflect on the development of intercultural competence. Intercultural competence development is emerging as a significant educational activity in Japanese higher education, yet university students, particularly in non-urban areas of Japan, have almost no opportunity to meet and interact with foreigners in their daily lives. Due to this situation, individuals generally can only socialize in a homogeneous environment This project examines the potential of virtual exchanges to support the development of intercultural competence focusing on the experiences of Japanese university students.
The key research design tools are a self-inventory instrument, the Cultural Intelligence Scale (CQS) (Ang, 2007) and semi-structured interviews. Follow-up questions of CQS results and questions from Autobiography of Intercultural Encounter (AIE) are included in the interviews. Descriptive statistical and thematic analysis are used. Data from the CQS will be processed with SPSS Statistics and are used as the analytic tool to compute the exact numerical value of mean, standard deviation and standard error of the means and compare group’s pre-and post-tests. Data from semi-structured interviews are used for both inductive and deductive thematic analysis. All qualitative data and quantitative data are then cross analysed.
This research project will contribute a more nuanced understanding of intercultural competence, enhancing established Western influenced frameworks with insights from a non-Western cultural setting. It will also add some cultural and situational aspects of intercultural competence that allow Japanese university students to adapt to various intercultural situations.
Furthermore, this research project will generate fresh insights into the value of virtual exchange and its significance for when integrated into international education curricular and foreign language programs. It will add implications of how higher educational institutions can foster intercultural competence through virtual exchange.
This research project investigates the experiences of Japanese university students who participate in virtual exchange programs. Most intercultural competence frameworks have been developed by Western scholars and are based on Western perspectives and often do not include other cultural views of intercultural competence. Moreover, intercultural competence frameworks have been designed on an assumption that interactions are carried out in physical contexts and as yet do not appear to have been applied to online contexts. This research project, therefore, aims to examine the potentials of “virtual exchanges” to support the development of intercultural competence focusing on the Japanese university students. This research project will expand our understanding of how intercultural competence is manifested and developed in online contexts while questioning whether the predominantly Western conceptualisation of intercultural competence that have been adopted in foreign language education are appropriate.
Yoko Matsumoto, Monash University, Australia
About the Presenter(s)
Ms Yoko Matsumoto is a University Doctoral Student at Monash University in Australia
See this presentation on the full schedule – Saturday Schedule