Learning cultures with international students

Shizuno Seki

This paper introduces an EFL university classroom where 31 Japanese students and five international students (three Germans, a Slovakian, and a Korean) learned intercultural communication together for the whole semester. Because of the enormous gap of the English ability between the groups, they had some communication problems. In order to alleviate the problems, some classroom activities were designed with the cultural differences of the Japanese and international students and the drastically different levels of language ability in mind. As a result, questionnaire results show that the majority of the students considered this class to be helpful in learning about different cultures. Based on students’ reactions to this class, the author finds that the benefits of having international students enrolled in EFL classes outweigh the problems.