Intercultural Skills for Successful Transitions
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Intercultural Skills for Successful Transitions By: Michelle C. Barker, Anita Mak, Mr. Daniel W. Lund, Peter Woods, Ashlea Troth The present study examines the effectiveness of implementing the ExcelL Intercultural Skills Program within an academic setting in Australia. The ExcelL Program is a theory-driven, evidence-based, sociocultural learning group program designed to assist international migrants and students in developing their social interaction skills with host nationals, while still maintaining their own distinct cultural identities. The program utilises cultural mapping techniques whereby individuals develop cross-cultural skills and understandings of the underlying values for such interactions as participating in group discussions, making social contact, and seeking help. Each behavioural-based skill is adaptable to business, academic, or social contexts, depending on the needs of the individual. Questionnaires, surveys, and focus groups were utilised to evaluate the effectiveness of the ExcelL Program in an academic setting in Australia. When adapted to the curriculum of an internationally diverse group of undergraduate business students, the ExcelL Program was found to be helpful in increasing the overall intercultural competencies and cross-cultural confidence of the students. Students also demonstrated improved abilities in identifying and offering effective strategies and solutions to culturally sensitive business problems. Students from India, Thailand, and China, in particular, demonstrated considerable improvements in their intercultural skills-based business and social competencies. The implications of adapting the program into internationally diverse academic classrooms in Australia are discussed.
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