The Intercultural Certificate program is a new course offered to all Laurier Brantford students through Laurier International. This program is a six module program, which includes the following: Introduction to Concepts of Culture, Introduction to Exploring One’s Culture, Introduction to Intercultural Communication, Exploring Difference, Introduction to Cultural Adaptation and Lifelong Intercultural Learning.

The Diversity and Equity Office and Centre for Teaching Innovation and Excellence took part in the development of this certificate.

“This type of program has been in demand at Laurier for some time. More recently, the new Strategic Academic Plan (2015-2020)
has highlighted experiential learning, and diversity as pillars of a campus known for teaching excellence and high quality student experience,” said Mike Boylan, who helped promote and register students on the Brantford campus. “The Intercultural Certificate uses an experiential learning model to develop a culture committed to exploring difference and developing cultural empathy, which in turn, support diversity and inclusivity.”

Sinthu Vimaladasan, a fourth year criminology student talked about her experience taking this course, “I wanted to gain more awareness about the interactions of peoples aside from our Western perspective. The little things we do can relay a completely different message to someone from another part of the world. Every student that chooses to gain this certificate is also gaining intercultural competency and I believe that is the biggest benefit of this program.”

Vimaladasan further explained how this program helps broaden students’ minds on the topic of
intercultural competencies. “Globalization makes it possible for us to get involved in business, education and entrepreneurialism on an international level, however, it is key to understand the societal norms of that particular state – what is respectful behaviour and disrespectful behaviour. For example, in Ghana, it is very disrespectful to use your left hand at all because it is considered dirty so it is important to be conscious of that and make an effort to use your right hand. This course really gives you a broader understanding of international affairs on a social level and will most definitely help students identify what is an ignorant stereotype and what is a social norm.”

“The ability to work across difference; to excel in an environment rich with different communication and leadership styles, different values and ways of knowing, is part of what Laurier strives to instill in its graduates. One way to develop intercultural skills is through student mobility. To this end Laurier International supports the student
exchange program, international field courses, internships and more. But relatively few Laurier students travel internationally (we are working to increase this number), and we see the Inter- cultural Certificate as a free and accessible program, on campus, that helps to develop well-rounded and globally minded students,” said Boylan.

Students can gain cocurricular record recognition for completing this program.

“This certificate will help students to work across difference.
It will be useful in their interpersonal relationships, as well as their academic and career success,” said Boylan.

For more information on this program check out, https:// legacy.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_ id=151&p=17015 or contact Mike Boylan at mboylan@wlu.ca.

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