Intercultural Courses & Certifications

There are many ways for you to officially document your development of intercultural competencies here at Purdue. Here are a few of your options:

Semester Abroad Intercultural Leadership (SAIL) Courses – Mentored Support for Long-Term Study Abroad

A recent study of 1300 students from US universities found that the average US student does NOT significantly increase in intercultural competency during a semester abroad without targeted intervention. We want that outcome to be different for you!

Eligible students may be enrolled in a mentored intercultural course offered by CILMAR. This course is worth one credit hour and is assessed on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory or Pass/No Pass basis (depending upon the course selected). Once paired with an intercultural mentor, students will complete a series of assignments which include short readings, interviews, and reflective essays and activities. Each assignment will be followed by mentor feedback and a reflective discussion. These submissions and discussions will provide documentation of intercultural reflection and can be used to create a portfolio of individual skill acquisition. This would demonstrate to employers an increasing cultural self-awareness and an ability to work effectively with people from other cultures. By completing this coursework students will earn not only one hour of course credit but also a certificate that indicates intercultural competency. The accompanying certificate can also be uploaded to the co-curricular transcript, a professional portfolio, or a Linked-in page.

Purdue West Lafayette undergraduate degree-seeking students of any nationality who are participating in a semester or academic year study abroad program through Purdue University are eligible for the scholarship. See the SAIL Scholarship information page for more information.

The CILMAR’s SAIL course options are:

  • ENGR 397 – Global Engineering Experience*
  • SCI 395 – Global Science Experience**
  • COM 30301 - Mentored Intercultural Communication Experience

Priority enrollment for a CILMAR SAIL course is based upon degree and program requirements. Space is limited. Students wishing to enroll in a credit-bearing course option should provide an explanation of specific academic need in order to be considered for placement.

*GEARE students: ENGR 397 is required.

**Science students: SCI 395 can contribute to the fulfillment of the CoS language and culture requirement or fulfill the intensive activity requirement for those enrolled in Learning Beyond the Classroom.

We know that the top employers of Purdue graduates value intercultural  skills over international experience by itself. For more information on this course, option contact an Intercultural Learning Specialist at to find out more.

CILMAR Intercultural Certification

In response to queries from participants at CILMAR's workshops on how to create an intercultural certification, CILMAR offers the materials we used to create our first certification, built on the badges first offered by the Center for Instructional Excellence.  Although CIE's materials are much more attractive, we find the attached easier to use when collecting reflections and other artifacts of learning from students and for encouraging interaction between students. An overview is available here.

A testimonial about CILMAR's intercultural certificate from a graduating senior in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute:  

Overall, most of the exercises really showed the diversity of us all even in our own cultures.  I know that personally most of my own views are much different than popular beliefs, but I don’t always think others to be the same way.  We see all of these “best practices” of how to deal with people from other cultures, but if we go too far we may risk isolating the individual, as they might not agree with their own culture, even though they live in it.  Obviously, I enjoyed the experience, ...and I really value the opportunity I had to complete this certification.  I definitely feel like some component, if not in its entirety, of the program should be incorporated some way into as many majors as possible, as people don’t really take this time to really actively reflect on their own actions or on the actions of others.

 Purdue University's Passport to Intercultural Learning (PUPIL)

Purdue's new core curriculum includes among its foundational and embedded learning outcomes Human CulturesGlobal Citizenship and Social Responsibility, and Intercultural Knowledge and Effectiveness. PUPIL is a set of digital badges in PASSPORT that assist faculty and students in assessing and documenting the acquisition of these very important skills specific to Intercultural Knowledge and Effectiveness. Visit the Center for Instructional Excellence for more information. 

Intercultural Learning 101: Study Abroad Preparation

This CIE 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.

An External Option from Sentio

Sentio is a not-for-profit global education network and a subsidiary of AFS Intercultural Programs, supporting its mission of providing intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. Sentio's Global Competence Certificate (GCC) is an educational program designed to support learners participating in an international experience build their global competence. The content was designed to meet key educational goals that help learners develop intercultural competence and deal with cultural adjustment. These goals are organized into four core areas: self-awareness, awareness about others, emotional intelligence, and bridges across difference. This blended learning program is flipped to deliver content online and leverage offline facilitation for deep reflection about intercultural learning. The program is modular and developmental, helping learners grow at their own pace, with ample opportunities for peer-learning with other participants from around the globe. If you are interested in completing the Sentio Global Competence Certificate as part of the SAIL scholarship, please contact our Intercultural Learning Specialists at

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