A Way to Develop Intercultural Communication Competency Necessary for the Global Society: Volunteer activities supporting immigrant children

Presentation Description: Based on our field study conducted from 2004 to 2007 in Kobe, Japan, we will present how the experience of working as volunteer staff at the NPO and the interaction with immigrant children helped the Japanese university students develop their intercultural communication competency.  In this study, we confine ‘a person with intercultural communication competency for the global society’ to ‘a person who cares about all the people on the earth regardless of their cultural background and has a strong desire to communicate to understand them’.  In order to examine the interaction between the volunteers and the children in more depth we conducted PAC (Personal Attitude Construct) Analysis of three volunteers, and Image Map analysis of eight children.  From this analysis, it is clear that the volunteers have learned three key competencies which are critical in intercultural communication through the experience of interaction with the children: to have empathy for the person, to assure dialogue on an equal footage, and to identify individual characteristics eliminating cultural stereotypes. Based on these findings, we concluded that the experiences of volunteer students at the NPO nurture some aspects of intercultural communication competence to support immigrant children.

Mayumi Kubota is a professor at Kansai University.  She earned her Ph.D. from the Speech Communication Department of Indiana University. Currently, she is a Chairperson of the Kansai Chapter of SIETAR-JAPAN.  She was a keynote speaker at the 2003 SIETAR-JAPAN Conference. She has joined the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers.

Yoko Matsuda is Professor at University of Hyogo in Japan. She held a chair of SIETAR-JAPAN Kansai Chapter from 2000 to 2002, and currently vice president of Japan Society for Multicultural Relations. She earned MA in Japanese Studies at Osaka University, and MA in Linguistics in the University of Rochester.

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