Exploring the Impact of Demographic Variables on Intercultural Sensitivity of University Students

  • Rosa M. Rodríguez-Izquierdo
Keywords: intercultural sensitivity, intercultural competencies, intercultural development, higher education, internationalisation


Globalisation leads to increasing multiculturalism in societies. Preparing university students to recognise the growing diversity and to engage positively with one another in contemporary societies is therefore of paramount importance. However, the variables affecting the development of intercultural sensitivity have hardly been assessed. This study analysed the degree to which the influence of sex, year of study, and mobility experiences of university students influence the advancement of intercultural sensitivity. To this end, a scale was applied to Spanish university students (N = 645). The results showed a significant gap between the students’ perceived orientation of their intercultural sensitivity and their actual orientation. In addition, there were some differences across sex, year of study, and mobility experiences in favour of females, final-year students, and students who had undergone some sort of mobility experiences. Four profiles were also identified according to intercultural sensitivity: initial, mid-initial, medium, and advanced. The findings demonstrate the need to incorporate an intercultural approach into higher education institutions in pro of more inclusive societies.