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Intercultural Learning 101: Study Abroad 

Course Description

This course provides the understanding of global learning and diversity leading to effective interaction in a diverse and global society.

This course is designed to introduce you to a developmental model of intercultural knowledge and competency to prepare for study abroad. You will describe your own culture and compare and contrast it to other cultures including history, values, communication styles, economy, beliefs, and practices. You will explore the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary to communicate and interact effectively with diverse persons from diverse or different cultures and national backgrounds.

Definitions of Intercultural Knowledge and Competency

Intercultural Knowledge and Competence is "a set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts.” (Bennett, J. M. 2008. Transformative training: Designing programs for culture learning. In Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Understanding and utilizing cultural diversity to build successful organizations, ed. M. A. Moodian, 95-110. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.)

Intercultural competence is “the ability to think and act in interculturally appropriate ways” (Hammer, M.R., Bennett, M.J., & Wiseman, R. 2003. Measuring Intercultural Sensitivity: The Intercultural Development Inventory.  International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27(4), 421-443.)

Intercultural proficiency is “The ability to successfully communicate, understand, and interact among persons with differing assumptions that exist because of ethnic and cultural orientations.” (Association of College Unions International.  Retrieved March 3,  2014. Source

Text book

Book cover

Text book:

 Preparing to Study Abroad: Learning to Cross Cultures by Steven T Duke, 2014, Stylus Publishing, Sterling, Virginia

Global Learning Outcomes (GLOs)

1.0 Students reflect on an attitude of Intercultural Openness meaning an attitude to initiate and develop interactions with culturally different others and how to suspend judgment in valuing interactions with culturally different others.

2.0 Students reflect on an attitude of Intercultural Curiosity meaning an attitude to ask complex questions about other cultures and how to seek out and articulate answers to these questions that reflect multiple cultural perspectives.

3.0 Students reflect on knowledge of Cultural Worldview that demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture in relation to its history, values, politics, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices.

4.0 Students reflect on knowledge of Cultural Self-Awareness that is to articulate insights into their own cultural rules, assumptions, and biases and awareness of how experiences shape these rules, assumptions, and biases.

5.0 Students reflect on the skills of Intercultural Verbal and Nonverbal Communication meaning to articulate a complex understanding of cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal communication and the ability to skillfully negotiate a shared understanding based on those differences.

6.0 Students reflect on the skills of Intercultural Empathy meaning to interpret intercultural experiences from the perspectives of their own and more than one worldview and to demonstrate the ability to act in a supportive manner that recognizes the feelings of another cultural group.

Specific Learning Objectives (SLOs)

Attitude of Intercultural Openness

1.1 Students reflect on initiating interactions with culturally different others after completing a photo collogue of cross-cultural friendships.

1.2 Students reflect on developing interactions with culturally different others after completing relationship building activities.

1.3 Students reflect on suspending judgment when interacting with culturally different others in completing family genograms of cross-cultural friends.

Attitude of Intercultural Curiosity

2.1 Students reflect and ask complex questions about other cultures after completing a pre departure mapping activity.

2.2 Students reflect and seek out answers to complex questions about other cultures in completing a during study abroad mapping activity.

2.3 Students reflect and articulate answers to complex questions about other cultures that reflex multiple cultural perspectives on a during study abroad mapping activity.

Knowledge of Cultural Worldview Framework

3.1 Students reflect at least a surface understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture in relation to its history, values, politics, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices after completing a pre departure Pinterest activity.

3.2 Students reflect at least a surface understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture in relation to its history, values, politics, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices after completing a during study abroad Pinterest activity.

Knowledge of Cultural Self-Awareness

4.1 Students reflect and articulate insights into their own cultural rules and biases after completing pre departure self-awareness activities and exercises.

4.2 Students reflect and are aware of how their own experiences have shaped their rules and biases after completing pre departure self-awareness activities and exercises.

4.3 Students reflect and seek complexity relating to cultural rules and biases after completing assigned activities.

4.4 Students reflect and recognize and respond to cultural biases, resulting in a shift in self-description after completing assigned activities.

Skills of Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

5.1 Students reflect and articulate a complex understanding of cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal communication after completing cross-culturally recorded interviews.

5.2 Students reflect articulate a complex understanding of cultural differences using direct/indirect and explicit/implicit meanings in verbal and nonverbal communication after completing assigned activities.

5.3 Students reflect and skillfully negotiate a shared understanding based on differences in verbal and nonverbal communication after completing assigned activities.

Skills of Empathy

6.1 Students reflect and interpret intercultural experiences from the perspectives of their own and more than one worldview after completing assigned activities.

6.2 Students reflect and demonstrate the ability to act in a supportive manner that recognizes the feelings of another cultural group after completing assigned activities.

6.3 Students reflect and demonstrate sophisticated understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture in relation to its history, values, politics, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices completing assigned activities.



For more information contact Charles A. Calahan, Ph.D., Assistant Director of Global Learning Faculty Development