The intercultural approach in a Hong Kong academic setting

Beatrice CABAU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the various educational paradigms used in the design of a European studies undergraduate programme in Hong Kong to enhance the acquisition of intercultural competences (IC) among students. The intercultural approach is supported by intensive foreign language (FL) learning and is motivated by a compulsory full year academic stay in the target language country. The article focuses on the importance of contextualising FL teaching by presenting the multifaceted aspects of identity, languages and the learner's profile in Hong Kong's societal environment. This perspective incorporates the multidimensional aspects of the concept of ‘culture’, while also recognising the dynamic process of the context and (social) identity for the learner. In the present case study, Hong Kong students' IC are developed along the dual educational axis of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages: a vision of the learner as a social agent and an action-oriented approach. The development of IC is also enhanced by a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach in language courses. Some recently introduced concepts in Hong Kong higher education (HE) are envisaged as springboards for including the intercultural approach in academic programmes. Finally, the article advocates cross-disciplinarity and synergy in Hong Kong HE for the development of students' IC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-179
Number of pages15
JournalLanguage Learning Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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