The Relationship Between Intercultural Communication Competence and Perceived Challenge and Its Effect on Perceived Success of International Students in Japan


The number of international students in Japanese higher education institutions (HEIs) has increased significantly in recent years. Aside from Japanese-medium instruction (JMI), English-medium instruction (EMI) has been introduced to the country’s HEIs to attract more diverse student groups. Intercultural communication competence (ICC) plays an essential role in improving the on-campus experiences of international students. This study investigated the relationship between students’ ICC and perceived challenges and its effect on the perceived success of studying in Japan. We surveyed 113 international students enrolled in a Japanese postgraduate program. Results suggested that in the non-Chinese (N=38) and Chinese (N=35) EMI student groups, ICC negatively and positively affected their perceived challenges, respectively. In comparison, ICC had a less positive effect on the perceived challenges of the JMI student group (N=40). These findings indicated that most non-Chinese EMI students perceived that they were in the high-ICC and low-challenge balance, while most Chinese EMI students were in the high-ICC and high-challenge balance. Although JMI students possessed excellent Japanese language proficiency, most perceived themselves to be in the low-ICC and high-challenge balance category. Overall, the level of students’ perceived success decreased in the following order: high-ICC and high-challenge, high-ICC and lowchallenge, low-ICC and high- challenge, and low-ICC and low-challenge. In particular, the high-ICC and high-challenge categories led to the highest perceived success. Although international students studying in Japan are highly homogeneous in terms of geographical origins, their ICC and perceptions of challenges show great diversity.

Author Information
Yinghui Jia, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Japan
Eungyoung Kim, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: SEACE2021
Stream: Learning Experiences

This paper is part of the SEACE2021 Conference Proceedings (View)
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