• Raja Rodziah Raja Zainal Hassan Faculty of Creative Industries, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kampar Campus, Perak, Malaysia
  • Nor Azlili Hassan Faculty of Creative Industries, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kampar Campus, Perak, Malaysia
  • Iza Sharina Sallehuddin Faculty of Creative Industries, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kampar Campus, Perak, Malaysia
  • Nik Norazira Abdul Aziz Faculty of Creative Industries, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kampar Campus, Perak, Malaysia


Facebook, Intercultural Competency, Intercultural Sensitivity Scale (ISS), Social Media, Foreign University Students


Computer-mediated communication has been an integral part of how people communicate in today’s modern society. The study of the impact of social media on intercultural competency is still in its infancy and has intrigued many scholars and researchers. An integral part of a foreign university student’s experience in a host country is to manage cultural differences. Hence, through the use of computer-mediated communication by foreign university students, a better understanding of the impacts of social media (Facebook) on intercultural learning experiences can be achieved. The aims of this study are: 1) to analyse the experience of foreign university students that uses Facebook to communicate with their local peers 2) to examine Facebook usage pattern(s) among foreign university students in Malaysia, and 3) to determine the level of intercultural competency among foreign university students in Malaysia. This study employs the Intercultural Sensitivity Scale (ISS), developed by Chen and Starosta (2000), to analyse the communication patterns of foreign university students in Malaysia that uses Facebook as a platform to learn and cope with cultural differences. This study analysed data from the survey of 210 foreign university students in Klang Valley, Malaysia. The findings from this study suggest that the majority of foreign university students enjoy communicating with their local peers from different cultures by using Facebook. Moreover, the findings indicate that foreign university students are confident when communicating with their local friends, and further concludes that the foreign students are culturally competent. These findings were determined by examining online interactions between foreign students and their local peers, and through Facebook usage patterns obtained from their experience.


Biagi, F., Bracci, L., Filippone, A., & Nash, E. J. (2012). Instilling reflective intercultural competence in education abroad experiences in Italy: The FICCS Approach + Reflective Education, 89(1), 21–33.
Chen, G.-M., & Starosta, W. J. (1998). Foundations of intercultural communication. Boston: MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Chen, G.-M., & Starosta, W. J. (2000). The development and validation of the intercultural sensitivity scale. Seattle.
Chen, G.-M., & Zhang, K. (2000). New media and cultural identity in the global society. In Handbook of research on discourse behaviour and digital communication: Language structures and social interaction. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Inc.
Clotilde Thomé-Williams, A. (2016). Developing Intercultural communicative competence in portuguese through skype and facebook. Intercultural Communication Studies, 1, 213–233. Retrieved from http://web.uri.edu/iaics/files/XXV1–Ana-Clotilde-Thomé-WILLIAMS.pdf
Coffey, A. J., Kamhawi, R., Fishwick, P., & Henderson, J. (2013). New media environments’ comparative effects upon intercultural sensitivity: A five-dimensional analysis. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 37(5), 605–627.
Dong, Q., Day, K. D., & Collaco, C. (2008). Overcoming ethnocentrism through developing intercultural communication sensitivity and multiculturalism. Human Communication, 11(1), 27–38.
Downey, G., & Gray, T. (2012). Blogging with the Facebook generation: Studying abroad with Gen Y. Australian Association for Research in Education and Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association Conference, 1–12. Retrieved from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED542292
Dwyer, M. M. (2004). More is better: The impact of study abroad program duration. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 10, 151–164.
Etikan, I., Musa, S. A., & Alkassim, R. S. (2016). Comparison of convenience sampling and purposive sampling. American Journal of Theoretical and Applied Statistics, 5(1), 1–4.
Fritz, W., Möllenberg, A., & Chen, G.-M. (2002). Measuring intercultural sensitivity in different cultural contexts. Intercultural Communication Studies, 11(2), 165–176.
Hall, E. T. (1990). The silent language. New York: Anchor Books.
Hammer, M. R., Bennett, M. J., & Wiseman, R. (2003). Measuring Intercultural Sensitivity: The Intercultural Development Inventory. International Journal of Intercultural Relation, 27(4), 421–443.
Lang, A. (2012). Exploring the potential of social network sites in relation to intercultural communication. Arts & Humanities in Higher Education, 11(1/2), 120–139. https://doi.org/10.1177/1474022210394141
Liu, S. (2014). Becoming intercultural: Exposure to foreign cultures and intercultural competence. China Media Research, 10(3), 7–14.
Maharaja, G. (2018). The Impact of study abroad on college students’ intercultural competence and personal development. International Research and Review: Journal of Phi Beta Delta, 7(2).
Miller, D., Costa, E., Haynes, N., Mcdonald, T., Sinanan, J., Spyer, J., … Wang, X. (2016). Education and young people. In How the World Changed Social Media Book (pp. 70–84). Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1g69z35.12
Nardi, P. M. (2013). Doing survey research. A guide to quantitative methods (3rd ed.). London: Paradigm Publishers.
Odağ, Ö., Wallin, H. R., & Kedzior, K. K. (2016). Definition of intercultural competence according to undergraduate students at an International University in Germany. Journal of Studies in International Education, 20(2), 118–139. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315315587105
Olson, C. L., & Kroeger, K. R. (2001). Global competency and intercultural sensitivity, 5(2), 116–137.
Özdemir, E. (2017). Promoting EFL learners’ intercultural communication effectiveness: a focus on Facebook. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 30(6), 510–528. https://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2017.1325907
Pino, B. G. (2017). The cross-cultural awareness of pre-service spanish teachers author ( s ): Barbara González Pino and Frank Pino. Published by : American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese Stable. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40648361 REFERENCES. Linked r, 92(2), 303–308.
Portalla, T., & Chen, G.-M. (2010). The development and validation of the intercultural effectiveness scale. Intercultural Communication Studies, 19(3), 21–37.
Sawyer, R., & Guo-Ming Chen. (2012). The impact of social media on intercultural adaptation. Intercultural Communication Studies, 21(2).
Seyfi, M., & Güven, D. (2016). Influence of new media on intercultural communication: An example of an erasmus student. Informacijos Mokslai, 74, 24–37.
Wang, W., & Zhou, M. (2016). Validation of the short form of the intercultural sensitivity scale (ISS-15). International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 55, 1–7.
Westlake, E. J. (2013). Friend me if you Facebook. TDR: The Drama Review, 52(4), 21–40. https://doi.org/10.1162/dram.2008.52.4.21
Wickline, V. B. (2012). The crossing borders program: Increasing intercultural competency via structured social interactions. Psychology Learning and Teaching, 11(3), 374–381. https://doi.org/10.2304/plat.2012.11.3.374
Wilkinson, D., & Birmingham, P. (2003). Using research instruments: A guide for researchers. New York: Routledge Falmer.

Additional Files



How to Cite

Raja Zainal Hassan, R. R., Hassan, N. A., Sallehuddin, I. S., & Abdul Aziz, N. N. (2020). FACEBOOK FOR INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION: THE FOREIGN STUDENTS’ EXPERIENCE. Journal of International Studies, 16, 25–37. Retrieved from https://e-journal.uum.edu.my/index.php/jis/article/view/jis2020.16.2