This study examines the possibility that interaction through social network platforms can serve as an informal means of developing intercultural competence among international students in higher education settings. Japanese students studying in the United States at a university in the Northwestern US were invited to participate in a mixed-method study involving interviews about their social network use and interactions, and a structured questionnaire measure of intercultural competence development. Overall, the results indicate that those in the top tertile of intercultural competence development tended to describe more proactive social ways and benefits of interacting with potential sources of support over social media, whereas those in the bottom tertile tended to describe the importance and use of social media for passive consumption of information. The implications for the incorporation of social network platforms into higher-education programs for internationalisation and intercultural competence development are discussed.
- higher education
- Intercultural competence development
- Japanese students
- social media