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In the English as a lingua franca (ELF) settings of the ASEAN context, intercultural competence, strategies, and awareness are crucial for preparing English learners to achieve successful communications. This study investigated graduate students’ intercultural strategies and their opinions of challenges in using English as a medium language in cross-cultural communication settings. A survey questionnaire was constructed and administered to the English major graduate students of Naresuan University, Thailand. In the focus group session, seven volunteers were interviewed to elicit their opinions of intercultural experiences of using English in ELF settings. The survey result indicated that the mostly used strategies were clarifying or explaining cultural terms to interlocutors and selecting the conversation topics based on common interests or background experiences. The focus group interview revealed that the participants were aware of some linguistic issues as well as some similarities and differences between cultures, reflecting the need of more exposure to a variety of English used by non-native speakers. Based on the findings, it was suggested that ELF learners adopt intercultural strategies to accommodate mutual understandings in cross-cultural communications.
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