08 apr 2018

ICUU : enhancing intercultural competences for students


Through bi-weekly posts, the ICUU team participating in the USO-project on ‘Intercultural Competences for Utrecht University’ will share updates on progress regarding the initiatives to enhance the intercultural competences (IC) of three target groups: students, teachers and support staff.

This week: Students: Intercultural Competences for Students at UU

This subproject, targeted at students, is about developing, designing and merging educational activities about intercultural communication (ICC), with the aim of supporting students in developing intercultural competences (IC). The visibility of current educational activities about intercultural communication must be increased and must be more accessible to students of all study programs. At the same time, new activities focused on fostering Intercultural Competences for students will be developed.

Center for Intercultural Dialogue. (2017). Types of cultural communication. CID Posters, 4. Available from: https://centerforinterculturaldialogue.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/fruit.png

Center for Intercultural Dialogue (2017): Poster 1: Intercultural communication, intercultural competence, intercultural dialogue. CID Posters, 1. | Poster 2: Types of cultural communication. CID Posters, 4; Available from: https://centerforinterculturaldialogue.org/category/cid-posters/

The ICUU offer for students consists of five different subprojects:

A. Course ‘Critical Intercultural Communication for Global Citizenship’

At the University College Utrecht, a set up for a course in ‘Critical Intercultural Communication for Global Citizenship’ has been worked out by students and teachers together, with the aim of acquiring intercultural skills for a global context. This co-creation activity promoted student involvement and focused on their experiences and needs. The new course is currently being developed more in detail.

B. Intercultural activities at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

A course in Intercultural Communication in Healthcare will be developed in the curriculum of the Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. This is quite important, because the study program of Pharmaceutical sciences attracts a wide variety of students from many diverse backgrounds. Furthermore, in the professional field of pharmacy and industry, healthcare practitioners will also be in contact with colleagues and customers with diverse backgrounds. To deal appropriately with such intercultural encounters, students will need to acquire intercultural competences and develop knowledge of, and skills for, intercultural communication.

C. Interdisciplinary Minor Intercultural Communication

The Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance already offer courses dealing with Intercultural Communication, Intercultural Dialogue and Intercultural Mediation. The goal of this sub-project is to explore the possibility to create an Interdisciplinary Minor Intercultural Communication that would ideally include (some of) the courses already on offer, together with the courses that are being developed at UCU and at the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (see above).

D. Course Intercultural Communication for Exchange students

An elective course of 2,5 EC for students going abroad, focused on their intercultural competences, has been developed and piloted. The course will be offered from next academic year on and will be open to all students of the UU going abroad. The course consists of three modules, to be dealt with before departure, during the stay abroad and after returning to Utrecht. During the course students will acquire theory on intercultural communication, receive awareness training, learn to reflect on their experiences through various assignments and learn to identify and formulate (intercultural) competences in career training.

E. Evaluation and recommendations for the buddy-system for internationals

Several faculties and departments have implemented a buddy program that links international students with local students to support the full integration of the international students at the university and in the specific study program. The different buddy programs will be explored for good practices and challenges, with the aim of compiling recommendations for setting up new buddy programs.

All the sub-projects will be informed by information gathered through specific surveys that will be developed for current students and alumni of the faculties and programs involved in the ICUU project. Alumni who are working in their own field of study will be asked to indicate which intercultural competences they need in their daily practice, and if they could develop those competencies in their bachelor or master at the UU. Current students will be asked to indicate how the acquisition of intercultural competences could be further enhanced in their study program.

For more information about the ICUU you can contact Jan ten Thije (J.D.tenThije@uu.nl) or Karen Schoutsen (k.e.schoutsen@uu.nl).

Would you like to read more about the ICUU project? Have a look at the articles under the TAUU tag ‘Interculturele competenties’.





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