International volunteers report that they gain a lot from their experiences abroad in terms of social and relational competences, especially when they are called on to interact in multicultural environments. This study involved 69 volunteers who had returned from overseas placements. The aim was to analyze to what extent the conditions that are supposed to foster Copyright © FrancoAngeli N.B: Copia ad uso personale. È vietata la riproduzione (totale o parziale) dell’opera con qualsiasi mezzo effettuata e la sua messa a disposizione di terzi, sia in forma gratuita sia a pagamento. 127 intercultural competence (degree of immersion in the host community, guided reflection, contact reciprocity and institutional support) contributed to the participants’ individual perception of the degree of competence they had gained. The data suggest that some of these conditions might be taken into particular account by sending organizations when they plan International Voluntary Service programs since these aspects influence the development of intercultural competence.
Keywords: International volunteering, intercultural competence, immersion, guided reflection, contact reciprocity.