Does cross-cultural training in tertiary education enhance cross-cultural adjustment? A systematic review

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    The increasing cultural diversity within tertiary education and workplace environments requires students and graduates to be knowledgeable and effective in cross-cultural adjustment and managing potential acculturative stress. One of the ways to increase their cross-cultural adjustment is via cross-cultural training (CCT). Given the predominantly business-oriented nature of previous reviews, this paper systematically examined whether CCT was effective when applied to tertiary students. The analysis of different types of CCT and its outcomes was guided by Ward, Bochner, and Furnham's (2001) ABC (Affective, Behavioural, and Cognitive) model that comprehensively explained the affective, behavioural, and cognitive facets of cross-cultural adjustment. We reviewed 35 CCT studies published post-1990 with control group design or pre-post training evaluation. CCT in tertiary education has become increasingly multi-method and experiential. CCT programs with behavioural components had the most consistent evidence of effectiveness. Programs with both behavioural and cognitive components were more effective than cognitive- and didactic-alone programs. CCT appeared to be particularly effective in enhancing tertiary students’ academic and career performance. Practical implication and suggestions for future research directions are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-18
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


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