Master Thesis of M.A. Saija (student number 0529850) - Discovering university culture through group work: how the Eurocampus programme affects participants' meta-cognitive perceptions and essentialist assumptions about culture
Saija, Maria Anna
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Intercultural training for individuals and businesses can take many forms, one of them being the Eurocampus exchange programme for students of intercultural communication. This research looks into how the programme impacts the participants’ understanding of culture in terms of their assumptions about cultural others - which western academia has often framed through the lenses of essentialism - and of their perceptions about their cultural self. Additionally, it explores possible best practices to include in future intercultural training. Semi-structured interviews with participants from the 2021 edition of the programme were conducted and then analysed by means of critical discourse analysis. It was found that the students were able to challenge their views on culture mainly thanks to group work, which prompted them to reflect on their differences with students from the same cultural backgrounds, as well as challenge their own cultural self-perception. Additionally, they reported being more aware of their essentialist assumptions about cultural others after taking part in the programme, and some even demonstrated their ability to pull on the cultural threads that connected them to their peers.
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