Communication and Social Interaction across Cultures: The Case of a German and Ghanaian Educational Exchange Program

Abdul-Razak Kuyini Alhassan (1) , Muhammed Abdulai (2) , Hadi Ibrahim (3)
(1) Department of Educational Science, University of South-Eastern Norway (USN), Papirbredden, Grønland 58, 3045 Drammen, Norway , Norway
(2) School of Governance, Law and Society, Tallinn University, Narva Mnt 25, 10120, Tallinn, Estonia , Estonia
(3) Ministry of Trade and Industry. Department of Regional Offices and Foreign Missions, P.O. Box 163, Sunyani, Ghana , Ghana


Using a constructivist epistemology, this paper explores the cross-cultural learning experiences of exchange students from Hochschule Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences in Germany and the University for Development Studies in Ghana. The findings reveal differences in the students’ commitment to agreements, tasks and time; while the German students have a high commitment to time awareness -- reporting to lectures and other meetings on time -- their Ghanaian counterparts do not. We suggest that universities preparing students for educational exchange programs should actively embark on cross-cultural education and training, providing adequate information on the context and culture of the host country, targeting all stakeholders before, during and after the exchange program. This will enhance effective intercultural relations and social interaction, and minimize culture shock.

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Abdul-Razak Kuyini Alhassan (Primary Contact)
Muhammed Abdulai
Hadi Ibrahim
Author Biographies

Abdul-Razak Kuyini Alhassan, Department of Educational Science, University of South-Eastern Norway (USN), Papirbredden, Grønland 58, 3045 Drammen, Norway

Abdul-Razak Kuyini Alhassan, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Science at the University of South-Eastern Norway. His research interests include special and inclusive education, multicultural education and multicultural social work / child protection.

Muhammed Abdulai, School of Governance, Law and Society, Tallinn University, Narva Mnt 25, 10120, Tallinn, Estonia

Muhammed Abdulai is a PhD candidate at the School of Governance, Law and Society of Tallinn University, Estonia, and lecturer at the Faculty of Communication and Cultural Studies in the Department of Communication, Innovation and Technology at the University for Development Studies, Ghana. Over the past eight years, he has taught, supervised, and reviewed numerous student projects and dissertations in African and European universities. His research interests are communication, culture and media, cross-cultural management and leadership, migration, and mobility.

Hadi Ibrahim, Ministry of Trade and Industry. Department of Regional Offices and Foreign Missions, P.O. Box 163, Sunyani, Ghana

Hadi Ibrahim has a background in marketing at the bachelor’s level from Takoradi Technical University and GIMPA in Ghana. He holds an MSc in International Business Economics from Aalborg University in Denmark. He has immense industrial experience and currently works with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Ghana as a senior commercial officer. He is actively involved in several research projects leading to publications in respected journals with particular focus on intercultural and cross-cultural management and leadership.

Alhassan, A.-R. K., Abdulai, M., & Ibrahim, H. (2020). Communication and Social Interaction across Cultures: The Case of a German and Ghanaian Educational Exchange Program. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 20(2), 1–15.

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