Intercultural Competence in Host Students? A Study of Danish Students Facing China at Home

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Although substantial work in intercultural education has been done on the intercultural competences of mobile students engaging in international study visits, there is a need to explore intercultural competences in host students. This chapter seeks to answer questions about the challenges and possibilities of using short-term study visits to develop these competences. Theoretically, this chapter finds inspiration in social constructivist understandings of culture and Byram’s research on intercultural competence. Empirically, the data used in this paper were derived from a study of 22 Danish lower-secondary students hosting same-age Chinese students in homestays during a four-day study visit to Denmark in 2012. Qualitative data from student portfolios and focus group interviews are analysed with a focus on host students’ pre-understandings, experiences during the visit and overall reflections on the host experience. The study suggests that challenges and possibilities are found within the following categories: (1) Experiential learning, (2) Stereotypes and (3) Coping strategies and support.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntercultural Competence in Education : Alternative Approaches for Different Times
EditorsFred Dervin, Zehavit Gross
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2016
ISBN (Print)978-1-137-58732-9
ISBN (Electronic) 978-1-137-58733-6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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