Date of Award
Nutrition and Hospitality Management
Background: The world is becoming increasingly interconnected through the globalization of economy, resources, and social interactions, creating an environment where individuals must be able to respect, understand, and work closely with people of different cultures. The purpose of this research was to investigate how traveling abroad affects university students' level of competency in five cultural dimensions. Methods: An electronic survey, designed to evaluate cultural competency, was distributed to 6,000 randomly selected undergraduate students in January, 2018. Descriptive statistics were used to demonstrate sample profiles. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to determine factors of competency dimensions for global mindedness. A series of ANOVAs were conducted to see how competency levels differ based on time abroad. Results: Out of 1,650 surveys collected, 1,470 were used for data analysis. EFA using Principal Axis Factoring extraction and Promax rotation revealed five competency dimensions: cultural awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural encounters, cultural desire, and cultural skills. The results of a series of ANOVAs indicated there were no significant differences on cultural awareness and cultural knowledge; however, significant differences were found in cultural encounters, cultural desire, and cultural skills. Conclusions: As time abroad increases so does cultural competency in three of the five dimensions. Students who have spent time abroad are more comfortable interacting with individuals from other cultures, seek out culturally diverse friendships, and believe there should be more university sponsored cultural activities.
Edwards, Elizabeth Baylee, "Investigating University Students' Cultural Competency in Relation to Time Spent Abroad" (2018). Honors Theses. 283.