Popping the Erasmus Bubble: Perceptions of Intercultural Awareness and Competence of Incoming Erasmus+ Students and the Preparation Challenge
The Year Abroad is an important point of departure in many students’ lives, not only exposing them to new personal and academic contexts and challenges but also to providing them with the opportunity to grow and develop linguistically and interculturally. This article presents the findings of an empirical study comprising one-to-one semi-structured interviews with incoming Erasmus+ students at Maynooth University, and marries this with the dearth of research on outgoing students in multiple contexts, alongside the anecdotal shared experiences of previous outgoing domestic students at Maynooth University. The article examines the key issues of social media and social networks within the process of developing intercultural awareness and competence prior to and during the sojourn abroad, and the lack of sufficient and effective preparation of students before mobility which emerge as the two dominant issues in the empirical data obtained through anonymous module evaluations completed by students. The article culminates by discussing the development and piloting of a preparatory module at Maynooth University to address this preparation challenge. The empirical data generated from students matriculated in the piloted preparatory module indicates a strong desire for, and positivity towards, a well-developed, fully accredited, elective module integrated into students’ degree programmes prior to their sojourn abroad.
Clive William Earls,
Popping the Erasmus Bubble: Perceptions of Intercultural Awareness and Competence of Incoming Erasmus+ Students and the Preparation Challenge, Higher Education Research.
Vol. 3, No. 3,
2018, pp. 45-54.
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