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Developing Intercultural Competence

Virtual ExchangeVirtual Exchange | Set Programs Multicountry

Program Overview

Intercultural Competence is a critical global skill. This program provides a basic theoretical framework to help students develop the nuance and understanding needed for real-world interactions with people of different cultures, ethnicities, languages, and worldviews. Although learnings are contextually situated within the context of sub-Saharan Africa, the program provides an overview of general components of intercultural competence (namely cultural self-awareness, knowledge of other cultures, verbal and non-verbal communication, and attitudes of curiosity, openness, empathy and respect) that may be applied in any intercultural situation. Importantly, the program incorporates transnational peer-to-peer engagement with students in Africa who will participate for the duration of the program. Through actively operationalizing exchange through this initiative, EDU Africa aims to transform how participants view their cultural attitudes, values and beliefs, and those of others. This promotes (even if only on a small scale) more empathetic and effective intercultural interactions across the world.

Time Commitment | 10 Hours

Students will be expected to be available for 6 synchronous sessions. The time commitment required for online meetings is 7 hours throughout the program. There are some activities and assignments that will need to be worked on outside of the meeting slots. We recommend a further 3 hours of individual time for these activities.

*Two optional 1-hour cultural engagement experiences can also be added to the program.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an increased awareness of their cultural identity and self-awareness
  2. Increase their knowledge of other cultures
  3. Develop verbal and non-verbal intercultural communication skills
  4. Develop attitudes of curiosity, openness, respect and empathy

Virtual Sessions

1. Introduction to Intercultural Competence and Cultural Self-Awareness

To set the foundation of intercultural competence, students explore their own culture and start to recognize similarities and differences in other societies.

2. Developing Intercultural Curiosity

Students learn the importance of nurturing curiosity to avoid making biased conclusions or assumptions.

3. Developing Intercultural Respect

Students are encouraged to explore the cultural values underlying customs and traditions that are practiced by many ethnic groups across Africa in order to build their cultural empathy and understanding.

4. Developing Intercultural Communication Skills

Students are introduced to the distinctions between verbal and non-verbal communication and develop their understandings and applications of these intercultural communication skills.

*Optional Cultural Engagement Add-ons:
  • Gumboot Dancing or Djembe Drumming with Drum Cafe
  • Cooking in Tanzania

Program Evaluation

Transformation Questionnaires

EDU Africa’s Transformation Questionnaires are pre-and post-tests designed to help students gauge their transformation in line with EDU Africa’s transformative learning goals.

Reflection Sessions

Through a combination of formal and informal reflection techniques, students will be asked questions and invited to engage in structured activities that encourage them to articulate their thoughts and feelings, internalize any lessons or moments of growth, and ultimately, transform in line with the program learning outcomes.

Assessment Session: Interview

Students are tasked with interviewing a local contributor from a different country and culture in order to create an interesting information piece about the contributor in the form of a news article, short story, comic strip, illustration, artwork, video, or another medium of choice.

Review and Final Reflection Session

This session is an opportunity for students to use their intercultural competence skills, to demonstrate self-awareness through a sharing activity, and to engage with the unique cultures of others. The program ends with a recap of all the skills, attitudes and behaviors students have learned so that they are prepared for the final assessment session.

Eligibility Requirements

Students participating in this program should be aware of and be prepared for the following:

  • Ability to access high-speed internet connectivity and use the Zoom online platform
  • Willingness to adapt to unpredictable circumstances such as connectivity issues
  • Willingness to work collaboratively with students from different cultures; be open to sharing ideas and beliefs with them while remaining flexible and open to ideas and beliefs that may be different from their own
  • Hearing from contributors who have different accents
  • Speaking openly about the themes of culture, identity and inequality with people from different backgrounds
  • Commit to the hours outlined in the program and be considerate of the difference in time zones
  • Signing and adhering to the policies outlined in EDU Africa’s Virtual Exchange Participant Agreement Form
  • *Mobility of legs, arms, and hands to physically participate in the gumboot dancing and djembe drumming instruction (optional add-on)

Cost & Dates

This program was developed for faculty to include into their current curriculum, or to use as a valuable pre-departure component to an in-country experience.

Upcoming Program:

Dates: 6 – 22 July 2021 | Cost: From $310 pp

Download the daily program

Custom Dates:

Please contact our Program Development team to discuss when we can facilitate the Intercultural Competence Program for your student group.

*Group and hybrid program discounts apply.


Your Program Manager will assist with program enrollment and arrangements, supporting you along the way. A Program Facilitator will be responsible for the session facilitation, leading reflections, and supporting participants on their learning journey. Finally, our Technical Support Team is available to set up and ensure the smooth running of virtual sessions.

Enquire about this program