Welcome to Advancing Intercultural Competence for Global Learners. This program is divided into three interconnected modules to nurture your intercultural competence more holistically.

  1. Module 1: Creating Intercultural Awareness and Understanding Attitudes
    Where you learn about what influences people’s judgements and identify strategies to suspend judgement while appreciating other perspectives.
  2. Module 2: Expanding Your Intercultural Knowledge
    Where you explore and develop a greater understanding of values, the role of non-verbal communication in interactions, and the importance of expanding your knowledge of global issues.
  3. Module 3: Developing Your Intercultural Skills
    Where you identify ways to develop and enhance your intercultural skills, including reflection, communication, critical thinking, and ways to approach interactions.

The estimated time-to-completion is four hours per module, totalling 12 hours for the entire program.


You may choose to complete the modules independently if you want to focus on a specific area of development, although the best learning experience comes from a combination of the three modules. Whatever you choose, we encourage you to engage with the content, take time to reflect on what you are learning, be open to new perspectives, and use the strategies suggested in your everyday interactions.

Navigating this program

The three modules follow a student-engagement approach where you involve yourself with the content through self-reflection, interactive activities with automatic feedback, summaries of key points, and strategies to support your intercultural development as a global learner.

In every module, you will find interactive activities, definitions, and questions for reflection. You can also follow the links to the Glossary section at any time to expand your knowledge, review terms, or just to have an overview of the concepts used across the three modules.

Key Concepts

In this section, you will explore two key concepts, global learner and intercultural competence (IC), in an interactive way. This will help you gain a better understanding of what the program is focused on and what you can expect when interacting with the content.

It is important to ensure you understand what is meant by a global learner to have a clearer idea of what you are aiming for as you immerse yourself in the intercultural learning process.

Activity: What is a Global Learner?

Think About This

How close was your understanding of global learner to the definition provided? In what way was it similar? How was it different? In what way does being a global learner help you in your personal and professional life?

Intercultural vs cross-cultural

Although we often hear these two terms used interchangeably, they are, in fact, not the same, as explained below:

Intercultural (e.g., competence, communication, engagement) focuses on a deeper understanding of interactions between cultures and the mutual exchange of ideas from a more holistic and comprehensive perspective.

Cross-cultural (e.g., communication, studies, or interactions) involves comparisons of different cultures around a particular aspect; for example, work values in Switzerland versus Saudi Arabia, or how people greet each other in Canada compared to Spain.

Since our program content is not limited to comparisons across cultures, you will see references to intercultural competence, communication, studies, interactions, engagement, and so on. Your objective is to develop a better understanding of what happens within, around, and beyond interactions, to equip you with ways to learn about different perspectives, to help you develop skills, and overall to support your intercultural learning journey.

What is intercultural Competence?

Intercultural competence is a complex process—a multi-faceted set of abilities—that influence the way we interact and think, what we do and avoid doing, the decisions we make, and how all of these affect our own group as well as cultural others.

Perhaps you already have a notion of intercultural competence; even if you do not, there are ideas around it that we need to clarify. Let’s start with that!

Activity: Truths about intercultural competence

Examine each statement below and decide whether they are true or false in terms of your own understanding of intercultural competence.

Takeaway points

  • A global learner constantly engages with cultural groups to develop intercultural competence; they do not focus solely on learning about the more tangible elements of culture but also focus on improving their understanding of self, local, or global cultures, issues, behaviours, and attitudes. Doing so allows them to change cultural lenses and become more adaptable. In short, a global learner is a person who never stops learning.

Intercultural competence development…

  • is not mainly focused on how we act and react.
  • cannot be achieved within a specific timeframe.
  • involves learning about ourselves as well as others.
  • involves a process that is different from one person to another.
  • emphasizes the appreciation of difference and respect between cultural groups.
  • can be explained and understood through different models derived from research.
  • is a transformative process, not a set of guidelines, checklist, or list of cultural comparisons.
  • cannot be measured, but we can identify where we are, in general terms, within the process.
  • involves developing empathy, respect, curiosity, and openness towards people, experiences, and perspectives.
  • helps us understand actions and reactions as well as mistakes and ways to deal with them.
  • is not the same as anti-racism, although the two complement each other to disrupt injustice and promote anti-racist perspectives and behaviours that can help transform society.

Well done!

Now you have a better understanding of what the program is about and what you can expect. Start engaging with the content in the modules and enjoy the journey!