Intercultural and interpersonal communication between Japanese and American students in their residence halls Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/h128nj659

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  • There are more Japanese people coming to the United States than ever before. Increasing numbers of problems and conflicts are occurring between the Americans (hosts) and Japanese (guests). Many scholars have stated that there is a distinct difference of communication patterns between Americans and Japanese. The Asia University American Program (AUAP) established between Oregon State University and Asia University in Japan is designed to give the students intensive English study and exposure to American culture. Using AU Japanese students and OSU American students for samples, this project sets out to determine to what extent their cultural and language barriers affect the intercultural and interpersonal communication between Americans and Japanese in their dormitory environment. Including an American-American paired control group, rates of satisfaction with roommates were compared between the Japanese students and experimental American students of the Japanese-American pairs, along with the control group of American pair students. The study also examines factors which affect satisfied and unsatisfied communication between Americans and Japanese, and investigates what efforts the students made to overcome cultural differences and language barriers. Questionnaire surveys and face-to-face semistructured interviews were conducted to discover these elements. The results revealed that the rates of satisfaction are similar for the Japanese- American paired roommates, and the American-American control roommates. Therefore, ethnicity did not influence the level of roommate satisfaction for the three groups. Although cultural difference and cultural similarity did not influence the roommate relationship according to quantitative measurements, cultural differences that had qualitative and subjective effects on the relationship were found. The results of the analysis also show that English competence was not a predictor for satisfactory relationships. The key factors for successful relationships were the levels of the Japanese students' eagerness to talk to their American roommates and the American students' willingness to listen to their Japanese roommates. A combination of eagerness and willingness between the roommates reinforced the opportunity for success. Regarding sex, the data shows that the female students were more satisfied than the male students. The research literature also supports the observation that female students achieve more satisfactory relationships. The main traits that contributed to satisfactory relationships on the part of American roommates were the traits of "patience", "open-mindedness" and "willingness to make an effort". The traits of Japanese students which contributed to satisfactory relationships were "trying to talk" with their American roommates and "willingness to make an effort". The main factors for the unsatisfied relationship are just the opposite of those contributing to satisfactory relationships. Roommates who had unsatisfactory relationships typically had little communication with their roommates because they stayed away from their rooms.
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