A comparison of the effects of experiential training on sojourners' cross-cultural adaptability

Donna L. Goldstein, Florida International University

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This study compared the cross-cultural adaptability of international student sojourners who received cross-cultural training with those who received no training. The purpose was to discover whether an in-depth cross-cultural training experience upon arrival to the United States would enhance a sojourner's cross-cultural adaptability.

The subjects were 81 student sojourners from fourteen countries, the vast majority of whom came to the United States to study through the auspices of the Agency for International Development (A.I.D.). The treatment group included 42 graduates of a weeklong experiential crosscultural training program at the Meridian International Center, called “Discover the United States”. The control group of 39 similar sojourners, received no training.

The primary hypothesis was that individuals who participated in the Meridian program would demonstrate greater cross-cultural adaptability than similar control group members, as measured by the Cross-Cultural Adaptability Inventory (CCAI).

Causal-comparative analyses of t tests and analyses of variance (ANOVA) were conducted using the test scores of both groups, as well as CCAI's non-U.S. Citizen Standard Group on each of the four dimensions of the Cross Cultural Adaptability Inventory (CCAI): (1) emotional resilience, (2) flexibility/openness, (3) perceptual acuity, and (4) personal autonomy.

Significance at the (p <.O5) level was demonstrated in each of the eight comparisons. Three of the comparisons achieved the level of (p <.O1). These analyses demonstrated that cross-cultural training has a significant positive impact for sojourners on each of the dimensions of crosscultural adaptability. Additionally, the combined mean scores for all dimensions of cross-cultural adaptability were significantly higher (p c.Ol) for the treatment group than for either the control group or the standard, providing further support for the hypothesis. There was no evidence that the variables of gender or country of origin were related to cross-cultural adaptability.

Qualitative analysis determined that on a week-to-week basis the program format is similar and that at least six different training techniques were utilized in this highly effective program.


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