Extensive International Experience and Attitudes towards Minorities: A Case Study of Dutch Attitudes towards Syrian Migrants.
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Diversification and diversity have become common practice in modern-day societies. Due to technological advances, new modes of global mobility and information sharing have facilitated migration. Some of the issues migrants have been, and still are, facing in new social environments have to do with discrimination and incomprehension of values and behaviours. However, previous research suggests that interaction with different cultures can be beneficial for understanding, accepting and respecting differences between cultures (Allport, 1954; Caligiuri, Jacobs & Farr, 2000; Stemler, Imada & Sorkin, 2015; Holliday, 2016). Using a contrastive approach of quantitative data, this study aims to investigate whether an extensive international experience (EIE) has an effect on the attitudes held towards migrants through increased intercultural competencies learned in a foreign context. The present study specifically focuses on the attitudes held by Dutch citizens towards Syrian migrants. A total of 110 participants completed a self-assessment survey that measured the attitudes by means of a 7-point Likert scale. In addition, participants were asked whether they had been on an extensive international experience, and, if so, information was gathered on where they had been, the duration and purpose of their stay, the number of instances they had undertaken an EIE and whether they had learned the local language during their stay. In accordance with the main hypothesis, the EIE participants group showed a more positive attitude towards Syrian migrants. Moreover, participants who had learned the local language during an EIE held an even more positive attitude towards Syrian migrants.