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Participants typically talked about lifestyle and cultural differences as a
challenge in living with roommates from different cultures. While some
of the lifestyle differences could come up in any roommate situation
(cleanliness and noise levels), others were more directly related to culture
(different religious practices or orientation to time).
FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION
Table 2 (see page 60) lists the frequencies for the domains, categories, and subcategories
that emerged from the data. Frequencies in the table are reported both at the
group level and the participant level because all individual participants were part of
focus groups, which may have influenced their statements (e.g., if agreeing with other
focus group members). The text below focuses on frequencies at the individual level.
Frequencies are labeled according to CQR conventions, where general (G) refers to
categories that applied to all or all but one of the groups/participants (discussed in all
5 groups/discussed by 14 or 15 participants), typical (T) refers to categories that more
than half of the groups/participants reported (3 or 4 groups/8 to 13 participants), and
variant (V) refers to categories that less than half of the groups/participants discussed
(2 groups/2 to 7 participants). Three domains emerged from the data: the benefits and
challenges of multicultural living-learning communities and the factors that facilitated
international students' establishment of positive roommate relationships.
Benefits of Multicultural Living-Learning Communities
All participants discussed having gained cultural learning from living with roommates
of different cultures. Within this category, participants generally discussed
having gained an increase in multicultural competency such as learning how to be
open-minded, gaining knowledge about different cultures, and learning how to communicate
with others from a different culture. For example, Participant 14 said,
I think that this living and learning community is a great way to start in a small group to
learn how to deal with different cultures and to see how difficult it is . . . how important it
is to be more open-minded to show respect, to get respect, and what it takes to live with
other cultures.
The participants typically discussed cultural learning as it relates to sharing cultural
traditions, customs, and activities (such as sharing food and celebrating holidays).
Participant 2 stated that her roommate " gave me a lot of information about America . . .
she invite[d] us to Thanksgiving Day or Christmas. So, I learned a lot [about] American
culture. " It seems that sharing a living space with roommates from other cultures
promoted the development of participants' intercultural maturity and cultural competency,
as reported by Antonio and Ofori-Dwumfuo (2015).
Typically, participants discussed learning and teaching language as a benefit of multicultural
living-learning communities, reporting that they learned grammar, idioms,
and slang from their roommates. Participants referred to both learning English and
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