Intercultural communication competence – a University of Waikato Management School case study

Andrea Perry1

1 University of Waikato, Private bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand

As our globalized world shrinks diverse cultures are in closer contact than ever before and the ability to communicate across cultural diversity, to build relationships and to achieve shared goals, is becoming a necessity in daily life. Increasing cultural diversity is represented in the NZ tertiary education context however, a significant proportion of all students are un-engaged in curriculum that supports the development of international relationships (Education Counts, 2016).

The discrepancy between the presence of cultural diversity and the absence of intentional development of international capability presents us with a challenge. How can we support the development of inter-culturally competent graduates and in fact what does intercultural competence mean in a NZ tertiary context? Evidence from students and staff calls us to do things differently. Positive interaction between international and domestic students in and outside of the classroom requires the removing of segregation and enhancing community. It also means addressing lack of willingness to interact and learn across cultures, and focusing on ongoing English language development. This paper presents some evidence based suggestions for developing intercultural communication competence for all students.


Andrea Perry has worked as an International Student Advisor at the University of Waikato since 2011. She has previous work experience in Jordan and her commitment is to the success of Middle Eastern students in NZ. Andrea has just completed her Master of Management Studies with a research project on what it means for graduates of the Management School to be inter-culturally competent.