European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 873–894 | Cite as

Assessing study abroad students’ intercultural sensitivity with narratives

  • Christian TarchiEmail author
  • Alessio Surian
  • Colette Daiute


This study analyzed study abroad students’ orientations to cultural differences as assessed with mixed methods, including traditional intercultural sensitivity measures and oral narratives of critical incidents in the foreign culture. Sixty students participated, 32 US study abroad students, and 28 Erasmus Mundus students, all studying in English-speaking programs in Italy. Data about students’ acculturation orientation were collected through a self-report questionnaire, and students were asked to narrate a cultural experience that “puzzled” them in a video log format. Statistical analyses were designed to integrate the intercultural orientation (acculturation strategy) and the video log narrative analyses (plot analysis and cultural relevance definitions). Results indicated that Erasmus Mundus students expressed more ethnorelative orientations than the US study abroad students. For example, Erasmus Mundus students emphasized the setting and the ending of their experiences more than the US students did. Erasmus Mundus students presented lower identification scores with their conationals than US study abroad students did. We operationalize those concepts with an analysis of narrative video logs, as tools for students, as well as for researchers and educators involved in study abroad programs.


Study abroad Intercultural sensitivity Acculturation orientation Narratives Plot analysis 



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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisboa and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education, Languages, Intercultures, Literatures and PsychologyUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  2. 2.FISPPAUniversità degli studi di PadovaPaduaItaly
  3. 3.PsychologyGraduate Center, City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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