Cultural competence after study abroad experience (de Diego-Lázaro et al., 2020)

Purpose: Cultural competence is crucial for the successful provision of speech, language, and hearing services. The purpose of this study was to assess and describe gains in cultural awareness, cultural competence, and self-efficacy after service-learning study abroad experiences and to examine whether gains in these areas are related to higher clinical skills ratings in speech-language pathology and audiology students.
Method: Sixteen speech-language pathology and audiology students participated in two international study abroad experiences (Nicaragua and Malawi). Students completed a survey on cultural awareness, competence, and self-efficacy beliefs and journal entries before, during, and after their trips. In addition, the supervisors assessed the clinical skills of the students by the end of the trip. The researchers applied a mixed-methods approach to analyze data from the survey, clinical ratings, and journals.
Results: Students showed significant increases in cultural awareness, competence, and self-efficacy. Gains in self-efficacy and cultural awareness were highly correlated with students’ clinical ratings in cultural competence as judged by their supervisors. Two main themes were identified from the journal entries: continuing community involvement and growth in cultural self-efficacy.
Conclusion: Service-learning study abroad experiences help students develop cultural awareness and competence skills and increase their self-efficacy beliefs. Using a mixed-methods approach can help identify strengths and weaknesses in the training of speech-language pathology and audiology students with regard to cultural competence.

Supplemental Material S1. Cultural Awareness and Competence Scales (CACS): SLP and AUD common items.

de Diego-Lázaro, B., Winn, K., & Restrepo, M. A. (2020). Cultural competence and self-efficacy after study abroad experiences. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_AJSLP-19-00101