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A Critical Entry of International Students into ‘Inter’-cultural Communication in Higher Education

Wednesday 3 July: Conference day one, 4:00pm – 4:30pm parallel session



Room 2 – 303-G14, Sem



Morteza Sharifi
University of Auckland, New Zealand



Internationalisation is inevitable and necessary for higher education in an ever more globalised world. Key to its successful negotiation by higher education institutions is intercultural communication, through which students, whether local or international, develop their skills to live, work and understand others as global citizens. However, intercultural communication does not happen simply because local and international students are on campus and in classrooms together. In fact, the research shows that intercultural encounters may lead to internationals forming negative attitudes about locals, and vice-versa, if they are not adequately trained in intercultural communication. For example, some scholars propose projects like assigning a local student as a buddy to an international student so that they can both learn about their respective cultures. However, there is not much evidence that intercultural communication is actually happening, nor is it usual for academic staff to undergo formal training in intercultural awareness and competence, especially in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This study used the lens of critical ethnography to conduct and analyse twelve in-depth interviews with international students in undergraduate to doctoral programmes. The findings generally showed a lack of meaningful intercultural communication between internationals and locals that resulted in mutual misunderstanding and ethnic stereotyping. This suggests that there is a need for further training in intercultural communication for everyone at universities to foster mutual understanding and avoid ethnic stereotyping by internationals and locals.


Presentation topic

Tertiary – Internationalisation

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