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  • Intercultural communication: A challenge to Icelandic education
  • The paper deals with a radical transformation in Iceland’s relationship with the rest of the
    world during the 20th century, shifting the island from centuries of extreme isolation to a new
    age of contact and communication. Apparently, multicultural characteristics of Icelandic
    society in the wake of increasing immigration have tended to provoke negative attitudes
    towards foreigners.
    This new situation has posed a challenge to the education system in Iceland which
    will have to adapt to altered circumstances. There are indications that including
    intercultural communication courses in teacher education may be an important step towards
    strengthening the role of intercultural communication in schools, especially in tandem with
    language teaching.
    Against a background of globalisation and the rapid advance of Icelandic companies
    into foreign markets, the world of commerce has been quick to understand the need for
    intercultural communication training. In marked contrast to the general education sector,
    business departments at universities appear to be responding to this need as evidenced by a
    proliferation of culture-related courses at academic level. The twofold character of culturerelated
    training should be particularly noted, i.e. culture specific instruction to help adjust to
    a particular society and intercultural communication focusing on the awareness and
    understanding of cultural differences in general.
    JEL classification: I20, I21, I23
    Keywords: Intercultural communication, immigration, attitudes, education

  • 1670 5394
  • 1.6.2005

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