Study abroad programs are said to have the potential to grant intercultural immersion opportunities that students perceive as having different cultural norms and practices and which thereby lead to intercultural adaptability. While there is considerable body of research regarding students’ experiences abroad, evidence that support this claim appears to be limited by a range of methodological weaknesses including small homogeneous samples, and an absence of a rigorous ethnographic research strategy. Informed by Kim’s (2001) integrative theory of cross-cultural adaptability, this article seeks to provide new insights on the possible impact that cultural exposure may have on the process of intercultural adaptability on the basis of a case study of Algerian students in the UK. The study was informed by the constructionist/interpretivist paradigm and used a qualitative research strategy and an ethnographic case study design to explore the process that students went through to reach an intercultural adaptability. Based on the results of the present research, it was possible to draw a series of implications for educational institutions and to revise Kim’s theory of cross-cultural adaptability.
Amina Guerriche, University of Constantine, Algeria