This study was an attempt to examine the intercultural experience of Iranian university students studying abroad and explore variables influencing their success or failure in intercultural interactions. A qualitative method involving semi-structured interviews and retrospective narratives were employed in order to achieve an in-depth understanding of intercultural competence of the international university students which came to light from their reflections and interactions. The findings provided insights into three major components of intercultural communicative competence, i.e. attitude, knowledge and skill featured vigorously on students’ reflections. Most significantly, investigation of the data-set revealed several facilitating and debilitating factors contributing to intercultural encounters.