Presentation Type

Poster

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Ryan Zayac, Dr. Amber Paulk

Location

University of North Alabama, Guillot University Center Atrium

Start Date

24-4-2018 2:30 PM

End Date

24-4-2018 4:00 PM

Description

Steadily increasing ethnic and cultural diversity in America has led employers to see intercultural competence as a valuable and necessary trait to be possessed by those entering the work force, especially those studying psychology, education, and business. In order to prepare college students for careers involving culturally diverse populations, universities should proactively work to provide students with tools that help them gain awareness of, and appreciation for, other cultures. One tool by which this goal can be attained is through study-abroad programs. Although popular in other disciplines (e.g., Foreign Language studies, Business), study abroad opportunities have not been as prevalent for psychology students. The current study examined the effectiveness of a short-term psychology study-abroad program to Europe (Austria, Germany, and Switzerland) that utilized a cultural scavenger hunt on improving intercultural competence in program participants. Students completed a retrospective survey that measured self-assessments of cultural competence prior to completing the cultural scavenger and after completing the cultural scavenger hunt. Cultural competence was assessed using the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale – Short Form (M-GUDS-S). The scale contains 15 items with five items in each subscale. A sample item from the diversity of contact subscale is: “I am interested in learning about the many cultures that have existed in this world.” A sample item from the relativistic appreciation subscale is: “I can best understand someone after I get to know how he/she is both similar to and different from me.” A sample item from the comfort with differences subscale is: “I am at ease with people of other races.” Paired sample t-tests were conducted to evaluate the impact of the cultural scavenger hunt on students’ scores on the M-GUDS-S. There was a statistically significant increase in students’ self-assessments of cultural competence on the retrospective survey on the overall scale and all individual subscales. The results of this study may provide insight on the importance of using study-abroad programs in order to prepare college students to be successful in the workforce, and ways to make study-abroad programs more effective in developing intercultural competence.

Keywords

intercultural competence, study abroad, psychology, scavenger hunt

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Apr 24th, 2:30 PM Apr 24th, 4:00 PM

Short-term Study Abroad in Psychology: Effects of a Cultural Scavenger Hunt on the Development of Intercultural Competence

University of North Alabama, Guillot University Center Atrium

Steadily increasing ethnic and cultural diversity in America has led employers to see intercultural competence as a valuable and necessary trait to be possessed by those entering the work force, especially those studying psychology, education, and business. In order to prepare college students for careers involving culturally diverse populations, universities should proactively work to provide students with tools that help them gain awareness of, and appreciation for, other cultures. One tool by which this goal can be attained is through study-abroad programs. Although popular in other disciplines (e.g., Foreign Language studies, Business), study abroad opportunities have not been as prevalent for psychology students. The current study examined the effectiveness of a short-term psychology study-abroad program to Europe (Austria, Germany, and Switzerland) that utilized a cultural scavenger hunt on improving intercultural competence in program participants. Students completed a retrospective survey that measured self-assessments of cultural competence prior to completing the cultural scavenger and after completing the cultural scavenger hunt. Cultural competence was assessed using the Miville-Guzman Universality-Diversity Scale – Short Form (M-GUDS-S). The scale contains 15 items with five items in each subscale. A sample item from the diversity of contact subscale is: “I am interested in learning about the many cultures that have existed in this world.” A sample item from the relativistic appreciation subscale is: “I can best understand someone after I get to know how he/she is both similar to and different from me.” A sample item from the comfort with differences subscale is: “I am at ease with people of other races.” Paired sample t-tests were conducted to evaluate the impact of the cultural scavenger hunt on students’ scores on the M-GUDS-S. There was a statistically significant increase in students’ self-assessments of cultural competence on the retrospective survey on the overall scale and all individual subscales. The results of this study may provide insight on the importance of using study-abroad programs in order to prepare college students to be successful in the workforce, and ways to make study-abroad programs more effective in developing intercultural competence.

https://ir.una.edu/researchdays/2018/posters/2