Developing Intercultural Competence Through Mediated Triple-Intercultural Classroom Collaboration


  • Cathryn Cushner Edelstein Emerson College, Boston, MA USA


Intercultural competence (ICC) describes individuals' ability to effectively interact with people of other cultures in an appropriate manner. Institutions of higher education around the world are invested in developing the ICC of their students and to this end encourage participation in study abroad programs while simultaneously internationalizing the student population of their institutions. Towards this goal, more recently, faculty have been asked to internationalize curricula contextually and experientially to develop student ICC in the classroom. This article offers an experiential and pedagogical approach for faculty to consider in this initiative. This approach involves mediated collaboration, utilizing standard and social media platforms to allow communication between three diverse global classroom communities providing students with comprehensive intercultural experiences. This approach was utilized in Fall 2013 with 105 students combined from the USA, Romania, and Fiji, and resulted in a rich experience for all participants. The ICC development of the 35 students from the USA was measured over the semester using an ICC assessment tool and results concluded impressive growth. With access to mobility imposing limits on student travel, it is critical that higher education look to alternative methods, such as the one described in this paper, to develop student ICC.

Author Biography

Cathryn Cushner Edelstein, Emerson College, Boston, MA USA

Cathryn Cushner Edelstein, is a Senior Scholar-in-Residence, Communication Studies Department, Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. She earned a B.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Boston University and an M.A. in Speech Communication from New York University. She is the author of the book, Excuse Me, Can You Repeat That?: How to Communicate in the U.S. as an International Student, (2012, Five Star Publications, AZ) and has presented at conferences on the subjects of intercultural communication and supporting international students in U.S. college classrooms.  At Emerson College since 2005, Professor Edelstein has taught Intercultural Communication, Public Speaking and professional communication courses for international graduate students. She can be reached at






Volume 4