Developing intercultural competent exchange students (DICES): Pilot study on inculcating 21st century skills for lifelong learning

Principal Investigator: Prof May Lwin, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Co-Investigators: Jason Lee Wen Yau, Research Scientist, Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU); Kristen Sadler, Director, Student Life; Prof Lalit Kumar Goel, Director, Office of Global Education and Mobility
Funding Agency: CRADLE@NTU start-up grant
University education is geared toward the formation of global citizens armed with 21st century competencies, which include cross-cultural skills to increase the students’ understanding and tolerance of foreign cultures that may stand apart from their own. However, these skill sets are not readily acquired in tertiary classroom settings bounded by local contexts, and this is why students are encouraged to have international exposure through study abroad programmes.
With the intent of obtaining the best results from intercultural exchanges, the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU) forges a research collaboration with the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information (WKWSCI),Student Life, and Office of Global Education and Mobility (OGEM), Nanyang Technological University to understand the state of the University’s student exchange programme, which is far younger than other established universities’. The research stems from the need to maximise students’ opportunities derived from immersion in a new environment abroad. This requires students’ self-initiated and regulated learning, backed by rootedness in their own culture.
The project aims to understand students’ motivations for undergoing an exchange programme and their development derived from overseas schooling. It also engages students in pilot intercultural learning activities such as stimulations, role plays, and reflective writing.
Findings from this research will help University administrators in designing pre- and post-exchange experience interventions to maximise learning outcomes from intercultural interactions, and promote beyond-University, life-long learning.