Intercultural Competence And Cultural Competence

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What is cultural competence and how can it be gained? Intercultural competence is the ability to be sensitive, reflective, tolerant, and efficient during interactions with individuals of different cultures (Behrnd & Porzelt, 2012). Arasaratnam and Doerfel (2005) identify having prior cross-cultural experiences, a global understanding of culture without ethnocentrism, and listening skills that allow one to be proficient in cross-cultural communication as important components of intercultural competence. Intercultural competency is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity for individuals entering and existing in the workforce (Hunt, 2001). Other valuable skills and understandings can emerge as indications of the acquisition of cultural …show more content…
It is important to recognize that participating in any kind of study abroad program does not inherently increase a student’s cultural competence or cultural awareness. Research shows that students who participated in study abroad programs for at least half a year and received cultural awareness training after returning had increased cognitive, affective, problem solving and social intercultural competence in comparison to students who also received this training but did not have a study abroad experience. There was not as great an effect for students before they received training (Behrnd & Porzelt, 2012). Study abroad pre-training programs should include elements such as self-cultural reflection, specific examples of cultural differences and guided deconstruction of them, how to confront, interpret, and resolve emotions evoked as a result of cultural difference, and guidance about how to understand cultural differences as different and not wrong (Johns & Thompson, 2010). It is possible that having a study abroad experience can make cultural training upon return more meaningful as the students would have real life applications to some of the more abstract concepts that are a part of cultural awareness and sensitivity training (Behrnd & Porzelt, 2012). Therefore, it can be argued that students should also take part in re-entry cultural …show more content…
In other cultures, access to inclusive education and other services may be made difficult by a multitude of factors such as lack of teacher training, unfavourable attitudes towards disabilities and other marginalized groups, lack of understanding about what inclusive education is, and an unwillingness to teach students who would be a part of inclusive classrooms (Chhabra, Rama, & Srivastava, 2010; Donohue & Bornman, 2015). Additionally, a culture may have a different definition of inclusive education than one’s own. In the context of education, the notion of inclusion means education for all students inclusive of those in poverty, orphans, individuals with learning, physical, and intellectual disabilities (Chakraborti-Ghosh et al., 2014; Ministry of Education, Namibia, 2013). Having this knowledge before entering into a culture to work or learn is beneficial in order to create programs and offer support that is meaningful and realistic within that cultural context. Specific cultural and contextual barriers must be understood as applying an umbrella assumption of disability in all developing countries and minority cultures is ineffective and inherently wrong (Grech, 2009).

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