Emotional Intelligence and Intercultural Competence: Theoretical Questions and Pedagogical Possibilities

Keywords: emotional intelligence (EI), empathy, intercultural communication, pedagogical implications, research questions on IC


Against the background of increased global mobility and the need to communicate effectively across cultures, the development of Emotional Intelligence (EI) is of growing importance to those involved in intercultural education. There are important theoretical synergies between EI, which is comprised of components such as self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills (Goleman, 1998), and models of intercultural competence (IC) commonly utilised in intercultural education (e.g., Byram, 1997; Deardorff, 2006). In particular, one of the components of EI, empathy has recently attracted attention from new perspectives (Epley, 2014; Bloom, 2016; Breithaupt, 2017a, 2017b). In this paper, we consider the place of EI within models of intercultural competence and then offer theoretical and pedagogical discussion on one particular element of EI—empathy—that we believe will be useful to intercultural educators.

Author Biographies

Ivett Guntersdorfer, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

Ivett Guntersdorfer received her PhD in 20111 from the Department of Germanic Languages University at the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 2012 she has taught at Ludwig-Maximilans-Universität, Munich, Germany (Department of Intercultural Communication) and in the Study Abroad Program of the Junior Year in Munich as a Program Coordinator for Intercultural Education. She developed and founded the Intercultural Communication Certificate Master Program at the LMU in Munich, which she is currently coordinating. She is leading several research projects in intercultural communications in higher education.

Irina Golubeva, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA

Dr. Irina Golubeva graduated in Spanish and English Languages and Literature Teaching and holds a PhD degree in Language Studies. She is an Associate Professor in Intercultural Communication at the Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the USA. Before joining the faculty at UMBC, she taught at the University of Miskolc (Hungary) and at the University of Veszprém (Hungary). Her main research interests concern development of intercultural competence and internationalization of higher education.

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