Evaluating Multicultural Educational Experiences and Intercultural Communication Competence in an Arab Context

Fahed Al-Sumait (1) , Marta Tryzna (2) , Mariam Alkazemi (3) , Edward L. Boone (4)
(1) American University of Kuwait, PO Box 3323, Safat, 13034 Kuwait , Kuwait
(2) Gulf University for Science and Technology, West Mishref, 40255, Kuwait , Kuwait
(3) Virginia Commonwealth University, 901 W Main St #2216, Richmond, VA 23284, USA , United States
(4) Virginia Commonwealth University, 1015 Floyd Avenue, Box 843083, Richmond, VA 23284, USA , United States


As an expatriate-majority state with a diverse multicultural and multilingual environment, Kuwait offers a distinctive opportunity for examining intercultural communication competence (ICC). This study examines the extent to which cognitive, affective, and behavioral predispositions toward ICC are present within the context of higher education by examining multilingual student populations at three local universities. Using survey data from over 800 respondents, the study explores ICC correlates such as linguistic abilities, formal educational experiences, and other sociodemographic factors. Analyses of variance demonstrate that some expected factors, such as multilingualism or expatriate status, contributed positively to ICC measures, while others did not—including attending English-language universities. Years of university experience positively correlated with both affective and behavioral aspects of ICC, while the cognitive component was least affected. Practical implications include the opportunity for universities to incorporate more cognitive-oriented intercultural lessons into their curricular objectives, which can add both educational and social value.

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Fahed Al-Sumait
falsumait@auk.edu.kw (Primary Contact)
Marta Tryzna
Mariam Alkazemi
Edward L. Boone
Author Biographies

Fahed Al-Sumait, American University of Kuwait, PO Box 3323, Safat, 13034 Kuwait

Fahed Al-Sumait is an associate professor of communication at the American University of Kuwait. His research concerns international communication with a concentration on the gulf region of the Middle East. He has served as a Fulbright-Hays dissertation fellow, a post-doctoral research fellow at the National University of Singapore, and a research fellow at the London School of Economics. He is currently President of the Association for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies (AGAPS). He holds a PhD in Communication from the University of Washington.

Marta Tryzna , Gulf University for Science and Technology, West Mishref, 40255, Kuwait

Marta Tryzna is an assistant professor of linguistics at Gulf University for Science and Technology. Her research interests include bilingualism, language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and language change. She is a recipient of several government grants from the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS) to evaluate the state of English language education in Kuwait. She is a co-author of a chapter on English language policy in Kuwait. She holds an MA and a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Iowa.

Mariam Alkazemi, Virginia Commonwealth University, 901 W Main St #2216, Richmond, VA 23284, USA

Mariam F. Alkazemi is an assistant professor of public relations at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. She has contributed to over 25 peer-reviewed publications on a range of topics with regard to international communication. Notably, she has served as a Carnegie fellow and a research fellow at the London School of Economics. 

Edward L. Boone, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1015 Floyd Avenue, Box 843083, Richmond, VA 23284, USA

Edward L. Boone is a Professor of Statistics in the Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Dr. Boone's research is in Bayesian statistical methodology, sampling methods, combining deterministic and stochastic models, and machine learning.  He earned his Ph.D. in Statistics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) in 2003 and holds an MS in Statistics from Virginia Tech and an MS in Mathematics from Miami University as well as a BS in Mathematics Education from Bowling Green State University.

Al-Sumait, F., Tryzna , M., Alkazemi, M., & Boone, E. L. (2022). Evaluating Multicultural Educational Experiences and Intercultural Communication Competence in an Arab Context. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 22(2), 64–74. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v22i2.59

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