Throughout Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) in the UK there were over 400,000 international students in 2012 (UKSISA, 2013), and according to UK Home Office statistics, that number has been increasing (UK Home Office, 2013). Within this university just over one quarter of the student population comprises of international students (Warwick University, 2013). HEIs pride themselves on having an international outlook, claiming to provide opportunities for international and home students to commingle, and to benefit from intercultural contact in group work projects so that graduates of universities are best better prepared for the global workplace. This, however, may not be the reality.
Many studies on intercultural group work agree that participants find it difficult, (Distefano & Maznevski, 2000, Northhouse, 2010). Furthermore recent studies have revealed that intercultural contact may something that students shy away from (Dunne 2013), or even find to be a dissatisfying experience (Summers & Volet, 2008).
As such, for universities to succeed in delivering opportunities for students to develop intercultural competences, it would be useful to look at the discourse and interactions between students in intercultural group work. By researching this, I hope to be able to better understand what happens when students work together, and how it may be possible to better prepare students for intercultural teamwork.
Prof. Helen Spencer-Oatey
Helen dot Spencer-Oateyl at warwick dot ac dot uk
Dr. Daniel Dauber
D dot Dauber at warwick dot ac dot uk