Are people really strange when you’re a stranger? A longitudinal study of the effect of intergroup contact on host-country identification

Waßmuth, Nina ; Edinger-Schons, Laura Marie

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-465941
Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2018
The title of a journal, publication series: International Journal of Intercultural Relations : IJIR
Volume: 67
Page range: 58-70
Place of publication: Amsterdam [u.a.]
Publishing house: Elsevier
ISSN: 0147-1767
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > Sustainable Business (Edinger-Schons 2015-2022)
Subject: 300 Social sciences, sociology, anthropology
Keywords (English): Intergroup contact , Host-country identification , Cultural-identity change , Studying abroad
Abstract: Due to the ever-increasing trend in globalization and the importance of gaining international experience, the number of students seeking academic and cultural experiences abroad continues to grow every year. The present study longitudinally examines contact with host-nationals, changes in cultural identity, and sojourners’ identification with their host country. To that end, four waves of data (n = 157–198) were collected among German students who spent a semester abroad in Indonesia. Over time, these students had more contact with host-nationals and experienced changes in their cultural identity. Lagged structural equation models reveal that contact with host-nationals was positively related to identification with the host country and that this relationship was mediated by changes in individuals’ cultural identity. Host-country identification was, in turn, related to students’ overall satisfaction with their stay abroad. This study underscores the importance of engaging in contact with locals when staying in a foreign country and contributes to literature by investigating the role of cultural-identity change as an underlying mechanism in the relationship between intergroup contact and host-country identification.

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