Papers from the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology Conferences

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European Higher Education institutions often have students from different countries and cultures. This situation, in part encouraged by the Erasmus program, has provided universities with an international character. Institutions have the opportunity to improve by strengthening cultural ties and making cultural diversity a true reality in universities. The present study focuses on examining teachers’ and local students’ support of integrating international students into classrooms, and the way local students build relationships with those students. Using a qualitative approach, two sets of interviews were conducted with Erasmus students and teachers from a Spanish university. In general, results indicate that teachers’ support depends on their own ideologies about integration, and it plays a relevant role in understanding Erasmus students’ emotional, academic and social adaptation in the classroom. In addition, results reveal that local students’ intention to start relationships with exchange students depends mainly on their personal characteristics. In conclusion, communication difficulties and a lack of support in the classroom can lead to a decrease in international students’ satisfaction, decreased contact with local students and maladjustment in the host culture.

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