The Impact of Language Ability on Intercultural Skills Development

Sam S S Lau, Emma Zhang

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstractpeer-review


This presentation reports research findings on the correlation between students’ language ability and improvement in intercultural effectiveness skills and student confidence in an international virtual exchange (IVE) project. In the 2020-2021 academic year, 130 students from Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), 40 students from Northwest University in Xi’an, China, and 160 students from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia, participated in an eight-week long IVE project as partial fulfillment of the requirements of their for-credit courses. Findings indicate that although all students participated in the same IVE project, they did not achieve the same level of benefits. The Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES) results indicate Hong Kong students with multi-linguistic abilities experienced the most growth, showing significant improvement in three of the nine areas of the IES, as well as significant overall growth. However, no significant improvement on the IES was observed from Chinese or American students. Results of this study suggest that students’ linguistic abilities should be considered in the design of an IVE program. This presentation concludes with ways to include a variety of modes of communication to foster inclusiveness and allows students from all linguistic backgrounds to benefit from IVE.

User-Defined Keywords

  • International virtual exchange (IVE)
  • Computer Mediated Communication (CMC)
  • Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL)


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