Document Type


Publication Title

International Journal of Intercultural Relations

Publication Date





Cultural competence, Cultural immersion, Experiential, Intercultural competence, Metasynthesis, Multicultural counseling training






This metasynthesis critically surveyed and evaluated the learning impacts on counselor and psychology trainees’ multicultural development and intercultural competence through participating in cultural immersion (CI), based on published qualitative research evidence. Accordingly, this metasynthesis identified and assessed the characteristics, the methodological strengths and qualities, and the thematic findings of 33 qualitative and mixed-methods CI studies resulting from exhaustive database searches. Using a directed content analysis technique, a six-domain analytical framework was applied to code and analyze the themes reported in these studies. The results point to CI intervention as a multifaceted and versatile instructional apparatus that impacted and contributed to trainees’ multicultural development and intercultural learning multidimensionally, across cognitive, perceptual-attitudinal, affective, and skills-behavioral domains. These learning outcomes include trainees’ increased cultural awareness and knowledge (cognitive), enhanced reflexivity on their worldview, positionality, and attitude (perceptual-attitudinal), heightened emotion and growth in cultural empathy (affective), adaptation and display of new behaviors and relational skills and increased multicultural competence (skills-behavioral). Therefore, CI embodies many favorable characteristics of experientially-based learning as stipulated in the existing multicultural counseling and intercultural training literature. These findings lend nuanced empirical support for the application of CI to facilitate counselor trainees’ multicultural orientation, development, and skills, and offer insights into structural facilitators for enhancing immersion training. However, a lack of structural and methodological consistency and theoretical depth among the existing CI studies were observed as major limitations. Implications and recommendations for advancing future CI and multicultural training practice and research are discussed.

Available for download on Monday, May 01, 2023

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