The Positive Effects of Cultural Immersion on Cross-Cultural Awareness and Knowledge
Fouch, Tiffany L.
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The growing range of dissimilar populations in the United States, in addition to the increased diversity in many professional fields have made multicultural awareness and sensitivity even more important in recent years. In this particular study, a group of9 mid-western university psychology students, between the ages of 22 and 26, were culturally immersed in the African community of Ghana where participants were required to attend weekly class sessions, engage in community activities, attend nightly group feedback meetings, and write daily reflections. Prior to immersion, participants were required to complete the Multicultural Awareness-Knowledge-Skills Survey (MAKSS) for later comparisons of cultural awareness and knowledge levels, and the revised Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) for measurement of personality types. After implementing total cultural immersion, there was ultimately an increased cultural awareness as well as increased knowledge of Ghanaian culture. Furthermore, it was also found that the personality trait of conscientiousness significantly influenced the degree of the immersion . experience. In other words, we found that students who tested more conscientious on the NEO-PI-R reported a deeper experience on the MAKSS. Thus, not only can cultural awareness and knowledge be increased through total immersion in a short amount of time, but personality also plays a unique role in success.
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