Investigating Intercultural Sensitivity in Saudi Arabian Women in The United States: Making Sense of Lived Experiences
AuthorHertenstein, Kathleen Foley
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractGlobalization affects our careers and education, and now more than ever interacting effectively with people from other cultures is of the utmost importance. In today’s classroom, cultivating intercultural sensitivity has become a necessity due to the pervasiveness of intercultural misunderstandings and misinformation in society. To that end, this dissertation aims to provide 1) a conceptualization of intercultural sensitivity, 2) a delineation of the components of intercultural sensitivity, 3) an understanding of the role intercultural sensitivity plays in training for educators, students, and citizens, and 4) a critique of the findings and further recommendations. Using Milton Bennett’s Developmental Stages of Intercultural Sensitivity (1986,1993, 2004, 2013) as a conceptual and theoretical framework and Chen and Starosta’s (2000) ISS survey, I asked eleven female Saudi students at the tertiary level how they perceived themselves regarding their developmental stage of intercultural sensitivity. In addition to the scale and survey, I conducted a three-part interview (Seidman, 2006) to gather data pertaining to the participants’ lived experiences. In viewing identity through a constructivist lens, I examined my dual roles: etic and emic (Pike,1967) and conducted a micro-analysis using symbolic interactionism (Blumer, 1969) as a way to shed new light on the participants lived experience as sojourners in the U.S. The results of this dissertation are intended to inform students, teachers, administrators, and communities on intercultural sensitivity and the intercultural experiences of sojourners, or students who study abroad, at the tertiary level. I found that respondents’ interpretations of their lived experiences strongly influenced their identity construction and that intercultural sensitivity “bridges the gap” between teacher and student, allowing a more interactive and inclusive classroom.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture