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Nurs Health Sci. 2014 Dec;16(4):521-7. doi: 10.1111/nhs.12139. Epub 2014 Apr 28.

Awakening to the other: reflections on developing intercultural competence through an undergraduate study tour.

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Department of Nursing, Yamaguchi University, Ube, Yamaguchi, Japan.


For the past 4 years, undergraduate students from the Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia, have undertaken a two week cultural study tour in Thailand, being exposed to a broad range of cultural interactions, health settings in rural and remote areas, and health-treatment approaches, including traditional and complementary therapies. Student evaluations and reflections were collected after the 2010 and 2011 study tours. This paper reports on findings following thematic analysis of the data, which identified central themes, including connectivity to others, "awakenings", "embodiment", and looking to the future. Findings included a recognition by students of a growth in awareness and change in perspective, which they felt would impact on their future approach in caring for patients from culturally- and linguistically-diverse backgrounds. We conclude that the study tour provided an effective way of sensitizing students to cultural differences and promoting cross-cultural awareness.


Thailand; complementary therapies; cross-cultural awareness; cultural competence; empathy; holistic care

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