Discussed in this paper will be intercultural communication and its importance within education. Intercultural communication has many barriers and benefits and these will be reviewed as well as the role this type of communication plays in education. The ability to understand can have great consequences on how we live our lives. To achieve this it must be understood what is meant by communication and "because communication is part and parcel of being human, studying it can help us to understand it better" (Young & Lovat, 1988, p.5).
Communication is the foundation of human contact. According to Cusworth (1998), "we are involved in it everyday of our lives. It is happening all the time and at a frenetic pace" (p. 179). This is especially true in an educational sense. Communication is a process we have been practicing since birth, whether verbally or non verbally. Young & Lovat (1988), suggest it requires "physical interaction, logicality (meaning whether or not the message received make sense) and interpreting by being able to ascertain the meaning behind the message" (p.12). The sender is the initiator of the message and as such is responsible for putting together the message and sending it in a way that can be conveyed to the receiver. The receiver is the person who accepts and deciphers the message and its meaning then usually sends the message back to the sender. Young & Lovat (1988), state, " people appear to have an undeniable capacity to choose what meanings they will place on the communication that transpires" (p.8). So in order for communication to be successful there needs to be an understanding of these meanings.
One of the main factors influencing effective communication is the crossing of cultures. People are then forced to look at other ways of communicating. Harmer (1994) suggests that some students find themselves in a target language community (either temporarily or permanently) through the migration of their families.