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Intercultural awareness training sees big jump in participation

Intercultural Training
A group of Queen's students hold up their certificates after completing the Intercultural Awareness Certificate program offered by the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC). (Submitted photo)

The number of students who have participated in intercultural training on campus to date for this academic year is already nearly double the 2016-17 total.

A total of 1,520 students, most in student leadership positions, have attended tailored sessions offered by the Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC). This includes 152 students who have completed the newly-expanded, five-session Intercultural Awareness Certificate program delivered by staff at QUIC and the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre. The certificate has received high satisfaction scores among participants: 4.2 to 4.7 out of 5.  

“We are thrilled to see this increased interest in intercultural learning, as well as the high levels of satisfaction with the certificate program,” says Jyoti Kotecha, QUIC Director. “Our goal is to provide relevant, engaging content and context that promotes self-reflection and a commitment to integrate and apply what is learned into participants’ daily lives and actions.”

The certificate and the individual sessions provide opportunities for participants to learn how to:

  • Describe the concept of culture and apply this concept to evaluate their own personal cultures;
  • Identify various dimensions of culture that will help them effectively engage in an intercultural context;
  • Practise various skills that will help them be more effective in intercultural interactions;
  • Recognize their own strengths and challenges when interacting with cultural commonality and difference;
  • Evaluate their experiences with cultural difference and commonality to continue the development of their intercultural competence;
  • Gain greater awareness and understanding of Indigenous culture; and
  • Gain greater understanding and empathy for the lived experience of Western colonialism by Indigenous peoples in the Americas.

“Intercultural awareness and education is an important way we can promote inclusivity in our campus community, and promote respectful interactions, and understanding among students, faculty and staff who have diverse identities and backgrounds,” says Corinna Fitzgerald, Assistant Dean, Student Life and Learning. “It is great to see so many students develop more skills that will support community-building.”

For winter term offerings of the certificate, and other trainings offered by QUIC, visit the QUIC website.

In alignment with recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force and the Principal’s Implementation Committee on Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion (PICRDI), the Division of Student Affairs has also expanded recruitment activities focusing on under-represented student populations, enhanced peer mentor and transition programs, created a new position to coordinate initiatives relating to diversity, equity and inclusivity, and is doubling the space of the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre.