Building Bridges: Students' Journey to Becoming Global Citizens
In an increasingly interconnected world, becoming a global citizen means acquiring a set of crucial abilities. These include a deep understanding of one's own values, an appreciation of diverse cultures and languages, effective interactions with people from various backgrounds, and a sense of responsibility for humanity and the broader society. These capacities collectively called intercultural competence, are essential for navigating the complexities of our globally interdependent society.
Through the IVECA virtual exchange, students embark on the incredible journey of obtaining and improving intercultural competence. Initially, many students enter IVECA’s virtual classrooms with simple perspectives, blindly differentiating themselves from others living in different countries or appreciating universally shared values without recognizing specific differences. However, as they engage with peers from around the world, something magical begins to happen. They transition from merely perceiving others based on their own viewpoints to actively seeking concrete commonalities and differences with their international peers.
In these virtual classrooms, students find common ground transcending cultural boundaries. It’s the simple connections that spark curiosity and unity. When a student from the United States shared their love for a famous K-pop group, a student from South Korea enthusiastically responded, "I did not know you liked K-pop, too! Have you ever been to a live concert?"
Similarly, a student from South Korea and one from the USA bonded over their favorite television show, Gilmore Girls, which happened to be filmed in the American students’ home state. They came to realize that though the TV production reflected their very different backgrounds, they shared similar interests. Through such interactions, students move from perceiving universal elements in their cultural worldviews to embracing the richness of diverse perspectives. This marks the first significant step on their journey toward becoming competent global citizens.
As these interactions continue, students progress naturally toward adapting and integrating with other cultures, thus broadening their understanding of the world. They develop an awareness that cultural diversity does not necessarily imply insurmountable differences. It's through these interactions that students learn to respect and celebrate the uniqueness of different cultures while also realizing the shared human experiences that connect us all.
At IVECA, the cross-culturally interactive journey empowers students to take the initial, vital strides towards nurturing the intercultural competence of global citizens, who can shape a brighter and more closely connected world ahead.