Shaping the teaching and learning of intercultural communication through virtual mobility





  • Theresa Catalano Email ORCiD University of Nebraska, USA
  • Andrea Muñoz Barriga Email ORCiD Universidad de La Salle, Colombia


The globally mobile reality of today’s world has made the field of intercultural communication increasingly relevant as people more often find themselves in intercultural situations. As a result, language teachers must be more prepared to work in intercultural contexts, and to teach their own students how to communicate across differences in intercultural situations both physically and virtually. The present paper examines this special issue’s topic of physical and virtual mobility and intercultural competence through the lens of teacher education. Using narrative inquiry, two teacher educators in very different geographic and socio-economic contexts (US and Colombia) explore their own attempts at developing intercultural communication in teacher learners through a WhatsApp pen pal exchange project in their intercultural communication classes before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings reveal different ways in which virtual mobility and other affordances of WhatsApp can be harnessed to achieve various aims of intercultural education, but also how activities such as the pen pal exchange can be improved in order to align more with current theories of intercultural communication.

Keywords: intercultural competence, WhatsApp, teacher education, virtual mobility, interculturality

Suggested Citation:

Catalano, T., & Barriga, A. M. (2021). Shaping the teaching and learning of intercultural communication through virtual mobility. Intercultural Communication Education, 4(1), 75–89.