Polarization is more salient in the test sample of first year master students than expected. Polarization can take the form of Defence and Reversal. To better understand how this group views diversity, their scores are further analyzed.

The respondents with a development orientation in Polarization and at the cusp of Polarization constitute one third[1] of the total sample. Of this group, for 52 % of the respondents Defence is the primary response to diversity; for 48 % of this group Reversal is the primary response.[2] In Fig. 5 the distribution between Defence and Reversal is given. Furthermore, the analysis of the individual IDI reports of respondents in Polarization informs that the majority of individual Defence— Reversal scores range between 40 and 60 %.

This finding implies that the respondents with a development orientation in Polarization are undecided in their response to diversity.

Perception of the Own Level of Intercultural Competence

Do the respondents have a realistic view on the own level of intercultural competence? The scores for the Orientation Gap inform that all respondents substantially overestimate their own level of intercultural competence. The Orientation Gap (OG) for each of the groups is larger than seven IDI points. Figure 3 gives the scores for the Orientation Gaps of the two test groups, the unknown group and the total sample; preand post-test (Fig. 6).

Even though for each of the groups the OG seems to increase after 10 months, this has only been confirmed[3] for the sample as a whole.

Impact of the Social Environment

How do the social interactions between respondents and other students and staff inside or outside the curriculum impact the development of intercultural competence of first year master students?

Overall,[4] the total sample was very satisfied (19 %) or satisfied (47 %) with the cooperation with the staff. The cooperation with students from other cultures was evaluated as very good (15 %) or good (44 %). For 11 % of the respondents the cooperation was neither good nor bad. Contact with other students in the education program was the most important for respondents in terms of improving one's intercultural competence (39 %); 24 % indicated contact with other students outside the education program was the most important. Contact with academics or with citizens of the city each was most important to 4 % of the respondents. The average scores per question assessing the contact variables per IDI Orientation are given in Table 3.

Fig. 5 The percentages of defence and reversal within the polarization orientation

Fig. 6 The orientation gap of the benchmark group, the new entrants group and the unknown

Table 3 The evaluation of the contact variables per IDI orientation

IDI orientations

Contact variables

Denial n = 10

Polarization n = 30

Minimization n = 64

Acceptance n = 4

Cooperation staff





Cooperation culturally different students





Most important contact

Students 100 %

Students 100 %

Students 86 %

Students 75 %







Cooperation staff

Very good (1)—good (2)

Cooperation culturally different students

Good (2)—neither good nor bad (3)


Every day (1)—a few times a week (2)

Although the number of respondents in Denial and Acceptance are small and the results have to be interpreted with caution, the data seem to suggest that the respondents in Polarization are the most satisfied with the cooperation with staff and students from other cultures; that contact with other students is deemed the most important and that they engage with students from other cultures most frequently.

  • [1] 26.7 and 5.9 % respectively
  • [2] IDI group report post test
  • [3] p = 0.05; one tailed
  • [4] Not all respondents fully completed the contexting questions
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