Intercultural Interactions: Understanding the Perspectives of University Staff Members, International and Domestic Students

By Sophia A. Harryba, Andrew M. Guilfoyle and Shirlee-ann Knight.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Intercultural interaction has been the subject of much debate since globalization caused an upsurge in the number of enrolled international students. A qualitative case study was carried out at an Australian university, whereby 25 international students, 38 staff members, and 10 domestic students were interviewed regarding their perspectives on support services offered to international students. A social constructivist theoretical framework informed the collection and analysis of data, and findings suggested that one of the major themes of the international students’ university experience is related to intercultural interactions both in class and on campus, in general. The data shows that many staff members blamed international students since they tend to cluster amongst each other and do not make an effort to interact with domestic students. On the other hand, international students expressed facing a number of challenges, including perceived language and cultural barriers, and some reported feeling ‘unwanted’ when it came to interacting with native English speakers. Some staff members suggested that they felt the need to ‘force’ group work by mixing domestic and international students, but that often became problematic for both groups, with domestic students complaining that it is hard to work with international students, and that domestic students end up doing all the work. These issues and its implications for intercultural interactions will be discussed as well as limitations and directions for future research.

Keywords: Intercultural Interaction, International Students, Domestic Students, Staff Members

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 12, pp.15-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 904.828KB).

Dr. Sophia A. Harryba

PhD Student, Psychology, Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA, Australia

Sophia A. Harryba is a Ph.D candidate at the Edith Cowan University and has researched and published in the area of Higher Education and International Education. Harryba Is interested in the area of internationalising higher education and the transition journey of international students.

Dr Andrew M. Guilfoyle

SENIOR LECTURER, School of Psychology and Social Science, Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA, Australia

Dr. Andrew Guilfoyle (PhD) is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology and Social Science at Edith Cowan University. Andrew has published over 50 peer reviewed publications, completed several large scale national and regional funded projects and regularly presents this work at international forums. His research is focused on developing sustainable services for social inclusion of Indigenous communities and CaLD populations. He works within a constructionist, participatory, locational, community based approach. His recent book chapter on “Participation with Australian Aboriginal Communities” (Elsevier Ltd: London) received an outstanding international review by Prof. Ron Chenail, Editor of The Qualitative Report (http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/): “Participatory Action Research as Empowerment Evaluation: Andrew Guilfoyle, Juli Coffin, and Paul Maginn illustrate the utility and challenges of understanding and encouraging not only community involvement, but also community engagement in policy making and evaluation.”

Dr. Shirlee-ann Knight

Post Doc Research Fellow, SNMPM, Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA, Australia

Dr. Shirlee-ann Knight is a post doctorate research fellow at Edith Cowan University.

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