Integrated Student Leadership Development: A Qualitative Case Study on Building the Intercultural Competence of First-Year Honors Students

There are many studies regarding the value of gaining cultural awareness, but limited empirical evidence has been shared on programs that use integrated learning and capacity building interventions to specifically build cultural competence in aspiring undergraduate leaders. This qualitative case study examined the effects of interventions designed to build intercultural competence in first-year honors students participating in a leadership development program using co-curricular activities, undergraduate research, and a short-term education abroad. Data collected from two cohorts who completed the first year of the program revealed students’ perceptions of their short-term education abroad experience’s impact on their intercultural competence and leadership development. The study demonstrates the value of integrated leadership and intercultural competence development among undergraduate students.