An Analysis of Undergraduate EFL Students’ Perceptions of Intercultural Sensitivity

Author: Huyen-Thanh Nguyen, Hanoi University, Vietnam
Published: May 31, 2023

Citation: Nguyen, H.-T. (2023). An Analysis of Undergraduate EFL Students’ Perceptions of Intercultural Sensitivity. IAFOR Journal of Education11(1).


Intercultural sensitivity, which is seen as an affective component of intercultural competence, is crucial to cultivating one’s favorable emotions about cultural differences experienced in intercultural communication. This qualitative study was conducted to find out how undergraduate English as a foreign language (EFL) students in Vietnam perceived intercultural sensitivity. The results showed that although the majority of students had not previously heard the phrase “intercultural sensitivity” before taking part in the survey, their intuitive understanding of the term was rather close to that of the literature. The participants were well aware of the evaluation of their intercultural sensitivity level. EFL students had different strategies for improvement of intercultural sensitivity depending on their study level and intercultural awareness. All participants, especially those who were learning a second language, believed that intercultural awareness is crucial. The study findings point to the recommendation that educators strive to further integrate intercultural sensitivity instruction and learning to improve EFL students’ capacity for intercultural communication.


intercultural sensitivity, intercultural competence, intercultural communication Vietnamese EFL students