Understanding University Students’ Motivation to Study Intercultural Communication

Presenter: Irina Golubeva

Affiliation: University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA

Chosen format: Presentation


The importance of studying intercultural communication in higher education is widely recognized. But how to make it more engaging for students?

This paper explores undergraduate university students’ motivation to study intercultural communication. A small-scale study involving 78 undergraduate students from a minority serving institution in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States was conducted as part of a larger research project that aims to enhance inclusivity and intercultural dialogue on campus.

To explain the rationale behind this study, I will share findings from a campus-wide survey, in which we collected responses from 820 students. Then, I will present the insights gained during a semester-long small-scale study, in which 78 undergraduate students worked on an intercultural telecollaborative project and compiled their reflections in e-portfolios. More specifically, I will discuss what reasons to study intercultural communication the students mentioned as being the most important, and whether these are consistent with their vision statements and reflected in their intercultural learning action plans. Finally, I will invite the audience to discuss possible ways to foster students’ motivation to study intercultural communication in higher education settings.


Keywords: motivation, undergraduate students, reasons to study intercultural communication, e-portfolio, intercultural telecollaborative project



Dr. Irina Golubeva is Professor and Director of Master’s Program in Intercultural Communication at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA. Her main research interests concern the development of intercultural competence and multilingual awareness, the internationalization of Higher Education, and the conceptualization of active intercultural citizenship. She teaches and publishes in four languages. In 2020, she was honored to receive the Pedagogy and Teaching Award and the title of “UMBC Innovation Fellow” for her contribution to fostering inclusiveness and intercultural dialogue on campus, and for enhancing students’ engagement in Internationalization at Home. She is strongly committed to non-profit work and served for seven years as a Vice-President of the European Association of Teachers. Most recently, in 2021, she was elected to the Board of the International Academy of Intercultural Research.


Dr. Irina Golubeva, Ph.D. | Professor

Director of the M.A. Program in Intercultural Communication

Co-director of Intercultural Leadership Certificate Program

Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication

University of Maryland Baltimore County


pronouns: she, her, hers (what’s this?)

Associate Editor of ICE Journal


Recent publications:

McConachy, T., Golubeva, I., & Wagner, M. (Eds.) (2022). Intercultural learning in language education and beyond: Evolving concepts, perspectives, and practices. Multilingual Matters. https://www.multilingual-matters.com/page/detail/Intercultural-Learning-in-Language-Education-and-Beyond/?k=9781800412590

Porto, M., Golubeva, I. & Byram, M. (2021). Channelling discomfort through the arts: A Covid-19 case study through an intercultural telecollaboration project. Language Teaching Research. 1(23). https://doi.org/10.1177/13621688211058245