Let’s talk about transcultural learning
Using peer-to-peer interaction to promote transi-tion and intercultural competence in university students
Higher education should prepare students for a world that is increasingly globalised, diverse and interconnected. However, it is less clear how to effectively achieve this as part of university learning and a lack of interaction between international and domestic students remains a common issue found on many Australian campuses. Drawing focus to a purpose-built program, this paper explores the development of intercultural competence within a group of culturally diverse students at a regional Australian university. Eight commencing students participated in a series of forums that were guided by a dialogic approach to facilitate discussion around intercultural topics. Through a fine-grained qualitative analysis of interviews, reflections, and video capture, students were observed transitioning to the new academic context through a process of feeling, connecting and becoming comfortable to interact with others. A closer look at the nature of peer-to-peer interactions revealed students using a variety of verbal and non-verbal tools to facilitate intercultural understandings. This paper highlights the value of intentionally promoting transcultural interactions as part of the learning process and presents the dialogic approach as a productive way to improve students’ transition experience.