Enhancing Intercultural Sensitivity of UT Bachelor Students


This project contributes to the discussion about globally oriented university graduates and the internalization of university education. It examines the effect of an international orientation of a study program on the intercultural sensitivity of students (ICS). Little research has been done on ICS as such, and specifically on how the design of a study program can contribute to creating a valuable cultural experience for students. Questions that need to be addressed are what different actors (teachers, students) should do, how cross-cultural student interaction can be facilitated, and what kind of learning/experience opportunities should be offered to students to generate the most stimulating intercultural environment for them.


This project is engaged with the research question of to what extent an international orientation of a university study program increases the ICS of students. It reports on questionnaire-based research conducted among second-year bachelor students (N=235) from seven bachelor programs at the University of Twente.


The research has shown that ICS as a collective construct, consisting of a cognitive, affective and behavioral component, cannot be explained by the three independent variables of intercultural orientation: the teaching style, perceived intercultural orientation of group work, and perceived intercultural orientation of the study environment. However, actual appreciative behavior, one of the three components of ICS, is positively influenced by the perceived intercultural orientation of group work.