International community health networking project: two year follow‐up of graduates


cultural education, cultural knowledge and sensitivity, international exchange, international nursing education


Aim: This paper presents the perceptions of graduates 2 years post‐exchange in a USA–European Union funded programme. The primary goal of this 8‐week exchange programme was to increase cultural knowledge and sensitivity by teaching a common module of community health assessment and planning to multi‐national groups of undergraduate students in four countries.

Background: Cultural diversity and globalization are among the factors that encourage faculty in nursing to develop programmes of international exchange for students. The challenge is to combine the exchange with the teaching of other courses required by the home institution during the same semester.

Methods: Twenty‐one graduates of participating USA schools responded to an open‐ended interview by telephone or email 2 years after graduation. Bennett's continuum (1993) of intercultural sensitivity was used to assess cultural development.

Findings: Graduates overwhelmingly supported international education and described its continued impact personally and professionally. Gains in cultural sensitivity were perceived as the greatest benefit and influence on their practice. The majority of graduates were believed to be in Bennett's ethnorelative categories of acceptance and adaptation. The depth and breadth of previous cultural experiences, specific host and home schools, and previous travel were found to be related to development on the intercultural sensitivity continuum.

Discussion: Most important are the findings from this evaluation that provide insight into the factors enhancing growth of intercultural sensitivity. Previous travel, characteristics of the home and host institutions, and the opportunity and willingness to be a cultural outsider were important influences.

Original Publication Citation

Duffy, M. E., Farmer, S., Ravert, P., & Huittinen, L. (2005). International community health networking project: Two year follow-up of graduates. International Nursing Review. 54, 24-31.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



International Nursing Review





University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor