Intercultural Experiences Essay

Intercultural communication skills are those required to communicate, or share information, with people from other cultures and social groups.While language skills may be an important part of intercultural communication, they are by no means the only requirement.Funding and other resources may be allocated on the basis of those measurements.

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“Comprehensive internationalization” as defined by CIGE is a strategic, coordinated process that seeks to align and integrate international policies, programs, and initiatives, and positions colleges and universities as more globally oriented and internationally connected.

“It is the obligation of colleges and universities to prepare people for a globalized world, including developing the ability to compete economically, to operate effectively in other cultures and settings, to use knowledge to improve their own lives and their communities, and to better comprehend the realities of the contemporary world so that they can better meet their responsibilities as citizens.” (American Council on Education 2011) Internationalization is gaining momentum at more than 80 percent of U. colleges and universities, and a majority have articulated international or global student learning outcomes, according to ACE’s indicates that only 9.4 percent of U. undergraduates who complete a four-year degree will have that experience, and for associate, master’s, and doctoral degree students the participation rate is much lower.

The co-curriculum, relative to other aspects of comprehensive internationalization, presents distinct challenges: Despite these challenges, focusing internationalization efforts on the co-curriculum is essential for the kind of deep, transformational learning that international education promises.

While students may sit for 12–18 hours per week in the classroom, the remainder of their time (particularly for residential students) is spent on campus interacting with peers, accessing services, and attending student events.

Colleges and universities can serve as microcosms of our increasingly interconnected and multicultural world, challenging students to practice empathy, understanding, listening, respect, and conflict resolution.

The experiential nature of the co-curriculum presents many opportunities for students to develop these skills.Topics rotate regularly, and each installment includes examples, sample documents, and advice from a variety of institutions. Co-curriculum, together with curriculum and learning outcomes, forms one of the six dimensions of CIGE’s Model for Comprehensive Internationalization.A co-curriculum can encompass a wide range of programs and services separate from, but complementary to, the curriculum.The experiential nature of the co-curriculum—where students encounter cultural “others,” navigate shared space, learn to manage conflict, calibrate their moral compasses, and test their leadership skills—can offer some of the richest opportunities for students to encounter cultural differences that test their beliefs and assumptions.This installment of "An internationalized curriculum and co-curriculum ensure that all students, including those who do not have the opportunity to study abroad, are exposed to international perspectives and can build global competence.” (American Council on Education 2012) As the United States becomes increasingly diverse and globally connected, higher education provides a laboratory for students to test the values, beliefs, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that will shape their lifelong participation in a democratic society.Ideally, learning outcomes flow from the institution’s mission and strategic plan, and serve to connect and integrate the curriculum and co-curriculum.A great deal of scholarship exists on the development and application of learning outcomes in general, mainly from the field of educational assessment.The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment suggests guidelines for learning outcomes and maintains a clearinghouse of articles and examples at the organization’s website.In addition, NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (Resources at NASPA) (Assessment and Evaluation information from NASPA) and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) provide resources specifically for co-curricular student learning outcomes.When students are members of a diverse community, they have the opportunity to practice engaging openly and constructively with cultural difference.This kind of engagement does not happen spontaneously by enrolling students who check a variety of demographic categories.

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