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New Zealand students' international competencies and co- and cross-ethnic interactions

Daly, AJ and Brown, JC 2004 , 'New Zealand students' international competencies and co- and cross-ethnic interactions', paper presented at the 4th annual Hawaii International conference on Business, 21-24 June, Honolulu, Hawaii.

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It is hypothesised that internationalisation of the tertiary education sector offers social, psychological and academic opportunities for both local and international students. Additionally, it provides future benefits to business through the development of graduates who are oriented internationally with intercultural competencies. However, research has shown that having a large international student body present on campus is insufficient to promote cross-cultural interactions; the amount of interaction between student groups is low. It is argued that without such exchanges, host national students may not develop the intercultural skills and knowledge sought in the global marketplace and, international students may be disappointed with their experience with poor socio-cultural adjustment.

The present study examines the intercultural skills of, and interactions between local and international students enrolled in a business faculty at a New Zealand tertiary institution. As expected, respondents rated themselves significantly lower on all measures of social interaction with people from different ethnic groups compared to interactions with people from their own ethnic group. International students reported a tendency to take a more passive approach in social situations. Furthermore, international students rated themselves as less confident in handling situations with members from other ethnic groups than did the local students. The findings from this study suggest that the low levels of interaction between students are related to social self-efficacy in a cross-cultural context. Thus through intervention strategies, tertiary institutions may be able to empower students in their interactions with cross-nationals. Future research examining the benefits of such intervention programs should be conducted.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors/Creators:Daly, AJ and Brown, JC
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