Context and consequences of helping-profession students' intercultural experiences before they entrer profession

Although the literature has documented helping-profession (HP) university students’ intercultural experiences during internships and supervision, less is known about their experiences with diversity prior to beginning their training. This study aims to understand how psychology, social work, occupational therapy and midwifery university students experience human diversity before their integration internship (the start of their autonomous practice). In what contexts do they experience significant intercultural experiences? What consequences do these experiences have for these students? In this study, 32 students, mostly young women, were interviewed. Thematic and co-occurrence analyses revealed that participants’ significant intercultural encounters occurred in the context of tourism, studies, personal (identity-related and interpersonal) or professional and social engagement experiences. These experiences generally strengthened participants’ openness to the Other and their world. They also fostered some awareness of their own culture and relative wealth. All but their professional and social engagement experiences led participants to question or affirm their identity and values. Behavioral changes are infrequent consequences of identity-related, professional and engagement experiences. Reflections are provided on how HP university programs could be improved.

Demers Valérie
Leanza Yvan
Yampolsky Maya
Brisset Camille
Arsenault Stéphanie
Jones-Lavallée Ahisha
Giroux Dominique
Gagnon Raymonde
Tétreault Sylvie
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Demers, V., Leanza, Y., Yampolsky, M., Brisset, C., Arsenault, S., Marquis, J.-P., Rhéaume, A., Jones-Lavallée, A., Giroux, D., Gagnon, R., Tétreault, S., Gulfi, A., & Kühne, N. (2022). Context and consequences of helping-profession students’ intercultural experiences before they enter profession. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 91, 200‑215.