Volume 4, Issue 2 August 2021, pp. 155–176 Download PDF

Regular Articles

Planning, implementing, and evaluating a non-essentialist training programme for study abroad in the Japanese HE context

Gareth Humphreys https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1666-59931

1 Sojo University, JAPAN ghumphreys@m.sojo-u.ac.jp

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/ice.v4n2.436


Short-term study abroad (SA) programmes are often promoted as an effective way of developing English language skills and accessing opportunities for intercultural learning. Whilst pre-departure intercultural training is thought to play an important role in enhancing the potential for meaningful learning, overemphasis on essentialist framings of cultural difference may be counterproductive given the multicultural and multilingual composition of many societies. This paper reports on an action research project triggered by the perceived underdevelopment of SA training and essentialist educational practices observed in a university ELT setting in Japan. The research involved the systematic design, implementation, and evaluation of a non-essentialist SA training e-learning programme informed by research on intercultural awareness, intercultural citizenship, and English as a lingua franca. Findings from a qualitative evaluation of learning on the programme among 22 students revealed some emergent non-essentialist understandings of culture, new awareness of variability in English language use, and a perception that the course was useful for SA training. The paper contributes to understanding of the importance of moving away from essentialist learning in SA training by integrating content which recognises the learning potential of SA experiences in multicultural and multilingual settings.


© Gareth Humphreys

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

Humphreys, G. (2021). Planning, implementing, and evaluating a non-essentialist training programme for study abroad in the Japanese HE context. Intercultural Communication Education, 4(2), 155–176. https://doi.org/10.29140/ice.v4n2.436

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