About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3173-3182
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain

DOES IT MATTER? GOING ABROAD FOR SOCIAL OPENNESS AND EMOTIONAL STABILITY

W.W. Chang, Y.H. Yuan, S.S. Peng

National Taiwan Normal University (TAIWAN)
The climate of globalization has dramatically changed today’s workplace and educational environment. Faced such challenges, many organizations attempt to develop staff’s or students’ intercultural ability by encouraging them including traveling abroad, living abroad for a period of time, and interacting with foreigners.

In past decades, such going-abroad experience has been viewed as an appropriate choice to enhance cultural competence, such as openness for social interaction and emotional ability. Increasing numbers of universities have initiated international exchange programs that encourage/require students to go abroad or study with international participants. In addition, many companies also include overseas experiences in their cross-cultural training. Such cross-border experience is perceived as an effective way to broaden people’s worldview and to develop better adaptability, which includes openness for social interaction and emotional stability. Some managers believed that sending people to an international arena will lead to their development in intercultural ability. A business executive suggested, “If you throw people into a swimming pool, they would learn to swim. Therefore, if you send them to international environments, they would fight to survive and really become international talents.”

While international experience is assumed to be an effective way to help develop openness and emotional intelligence, empirical studies for examining such a relationship are rare. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to understand the relationship between the experience (going abroad and contacting foreigners) and the two critical components of cultural adaptability, namely, social openness and emotional stability. Through an empirical analysis by SEM approach, this study worked to clarify an important question, that is, does such cross-border experience facilitate development of openness and emotional stability, which are important components of cultural adaptability?

A total of 359 Taiwanese samples were used from the database of the Taiwan Social Change Survey, which included questions regarding globalization that met the needs of this study. This database archives baseline information about Taiwanese society by surveying the general adult population using rigorous sampling designs.

Although the experience of being abroad has been viewed as an important factor to enhance cultural ability in international education literature, the results of this study, however, indicate that such experiences had no significant effect on openness for social interaction and emotional stability. The findings suggest that these formats, including traveling overseas, living abroad, or contact with people abroad, were not guaranteed to enhance openness to social interaction and emotional ability. These finings were similar to Selmer’s unexpected results showing that expatriates’ previous international experience did not necessarily have effect on their later cross-cultural adjustment.

In this study, these findings were not used to reject the benefits of international experiences identified in the number of previous studies. However, it called for a more careful examination regarding how to use and design international experience for learning more effectively. Implications for international exchange programmers and future researchers were provided based on the study results.
@InProceedings{CHANG2010DOE,
author = {Chang, W.W. and Yuan, Y.H. and Peng, S.S.},
title = {DOES IT MATTER? GOING ABROAD FOR SOCIAL OPENNESS AND EMOTIONAL STABILITY},
series = {4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-5538-9},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {8-10 March, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {3173-3182}}
TY - CONF
AU - W.W. Chang AU - Y.H. Yuan AU - S.S. Peng
TI - DOES IT MATTER? GOING ABROAD FOR SOCIAL OPENNESS AND EMOTIONAL STABILITY
SN - 978-84-613-5538-9/2340-1079
PY - 2010
Y1 - 8-10 March, 2010
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2010 Proceedings
SP - 3173
EP - 3182
ER -
W.W. Chang, Y.H. Yuan, S.S. Peng (2010) DOES IT MATTER? GOING ABROAD FOR SOCIAL OPENNESS AND EMOTIONAL STABILITY, INTED2010 Proceedings, pp. 3173-3182.
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