Intra-cultural and Inter-cultural Contact Orientation of International Students in Japan: Uncertainty Management by Cultural Identification
Keywords:cultural contact, psychological well-being, cultural identification, uncertainty management, international students in Japan, social identity, adjustment/adaptation
The lack of exchange between international students and host nationals in Japan has long been a pressing issue, yet very little progress has been made to rectify this situation. This study examined this issue by focusing on how international students in Japan perceive cultural contact with their host and home culture members during their sojourn. The study applied a qualitative approach based on grounded theory, collecting data through semi-structured interviews with 41 international students from China, the U.K., and the U.S. According to the social identity and anxiety/uncertainty management approach, we interpreted the findings on how international students manage uncertainty in the Japanese environment by identifying with the host and their own home cultures for their psychological well-being, which we distinguished as inter-cultural or intra-cultural contact orientation. International students demonstrated an intra-cultural rather than inter-cultural contact orientation due to the host nationals reacting to them as “foreigners.”
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