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Abstract

This study explored growth in the intercultural competence of domestic and international students who participated in an intercultural experiential learning initiative for academic credit. The initiative paired Canadian students in a second-year multiculturalism class at Wilfrid Laurier University with international students enrolled in the Laurier English and Academic Foundation (LEAF) program. Qualitative data derived from the oral and written reflections of three cohorts of students inform the study. The data were coded using pre-existing codes derived from learning objectives and reflection questions based on Deardorff’s (2006) Elements of Intercultural Competence Model. The findings suggest that while exposure to different cultural values and practices deepens domestic and international students’ knowledge and challenges their assumptions about each other, creating optimal conditions for meaningful intercultural contact between the students at a university may not adequately reflect everyday contact between them in complex real-life situations.

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