Rampold, Shelli Danjean, Bradley M. Coleman, J.C. Bunch, & Richie Roberts (2020, July). Exploring students’ cultural competence development during a short-term international experience: A Q-sort study. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 1(2), 65-78. (doi: 10.37433/aad.v1i2.45) (Link: https://doi.org/10.37433/aad.v1i2.45) (Access: http://agdevresearch.org/index.php/aad/article/view/45/37)

Abstract: This study was conducted to understand how agricultural students’ cultural awareness, knowledge, sensitivity, and communication abilities combine to influence their development of cultural competence. Future graduates must have the cultural competencies needed to work effectively in cross-cultural settings. Q methodology (Q) was used to capture the subjectivity and lived experiences of 10 participants of a short-term international experience (IE) program. When viewed through the lens of the Personal Cultural Competence Enhancement Framework (PCCEF), findings suggested students’ cultural competence development could be interpreted through three typologies: (a) Cultural Learners, (b) Cultural Engagers, and (c) Cultural Samplers. Cultural Leaner students demonstrated new awareness of their limited amount of cultural knowledge and desired to learn more about other cultures through future travel. Cultural Engagers, on the other hand, expressed greater confidence in stepping out of their comfort zones to engage and communicate in diverse settings. Cultural Samplers demonstrated increased awareness of the benefits of experiencing other cultures and expressed a desire to continue traveling abroad in the future but were not highly motivated to engage fully with those cultures. These findings support the use of short-term IE programs as supplemental activities to foster agricultural students’ progression toward cultural competence. Examining the typologies of study abroad participants can help demonstrate how students’ study abroad experiences uniquely combine to shape their progression toward cultural competence development and be used to inform the development of future IE programs that foster such development.

Shelli D Rampold <srampold@ufl.edu> is in the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

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