This article explores intercultural contact as a pathway for the development of intercultural communicative competence (ICC) among EFL undergraduates in China during the post-pandemic era. Adopting an exploratory qualitative design with self-reports and focus group interviews as instruments, the challenges faced by EFL undergraduates in intercultural communication and intercultural contact pathways for ICC development were elicited with thematic analysis via NVivo. The challenges that EFL undergraduates encounter in intercultural communication are scant English proficiency, insufficient intercultural experience, and limited intercultural practise. Direct, indirect, self-engaged, and external contact have been extracted as pathways for the development of ICC among EFL undergraduates. This study provides theoretical and empirical evidence to help researchers understand intercultural contact as a way to develop the ICC of EFL undergraduates in China. The findings of this study shed light on the development of ICC in EFL learning and authentic intercultural contexts, offering lecturers and curriculum designers reference points for constructing criteria and syllabi for intercultural English teaching.
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