How formal and informal intercultural contacts in universities influence students’ cultural intelligence?

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Along with rapid globalization, the ability to adapt and excel in an unfamiliar or diverse cultural setting becomes increasingly important. To meet the challenges, universities all over the world are committed to fostering an environment for students to develop their cultural intelligence (CQ). However, besides exchange programs and intercultural training, how students could benefit from day-to-day exposures to the multicultural environment on campus remain to be explored. This research underscores such need by investigating the path effects of formal and informal intercultural contacts to the development of students’ CQ, based on a questionnaire survey in an internationalized university in Hong Kong. The findings reveal that, compared with formal contacts, intercultural contacts under informal settings such as interest group activities, roommates or hall-mates, sports or other games have greater effects on students’ CQ, especially on motivational and behavioral dimensions. Also, it was found that intergroup anxiety plays a mediating role only on the path from informal contacts to metacognitive CQ. The implications for university leaders and educators are further discussed in the article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-259
Number of pages15
JournalAsia Pacific Education Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Cultural intelligence
  • Experiential learning
  • Intercultural contacts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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