October 19, 2023, by Jackie Thompson
Navigating and succeeding in culturally diverse settings
Amrina Kaur, Employability Officer
In today’s interconnected world, mastering intercultural competence is a skill that enhances your personal and professional opportunities. Whether you’re a university student gearing up for your career, or a recent graduate stepping into the workforce, understanding cultural diversity can be a defining factor in your journey.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the significance of intercultural competence and how it empowers you to excel in diverse settings.
What is intercultural competence?
Intercultural competence is the ability to understand, adapt to, and effectively communicate and collaborate with people from diverse cultures. It involves self-awareness and understanding the values, norms, communication styles, and behaviours of different cultures.
By promoting empathy, adaptability and effective communication, intercultural competence equips you with the tools needed to succeed in a globalised world. By reflecting on your own cultural biases, challenging assumptions, and embracing curiosity, you can engage in meaningful interactions. Embracing this diversity enriches your life and empowers you in your career journey.
How can I develop intercultural competencies at university?
Your university experience is ideal for developing intercultural competence. Through experiences such as engaging with diverse student groups, multicultural events, and study abroad opportunities, you can broaden your worldview and equip yourself with sought-after practical skills that employers are actively seeking, preparing you for a globalised job market.
- Join societies and groups that focus on different cultures or international affairs, such as Global Buddies, International Students’ Network (not just for international students), United Nations Society. In addition, language societies such as French and German society and international and cultural societies such as Asian Society and Vietnamese Society. Actively participate to build relationships and learn about other cultures.
- Attend multicultural events, and actively engage by asking questions, interacting with others there, and immersing yourself in the experience.
- If possible, take advantage of the university’s study abroad programme to engage with locals and embrace cultural differences.
How will intercultural competence help me find a job?
Intercultural competence boosts employability by equipping you with vital skills. Candidates who can thrive in diverse environments and collaborate with colleagues, clients, and partners from different cultures will be highly valued by their employer.
Intercultural competence can demonstrate adaptability and the ability to navigate cultural nuances, making you an asset to your team. It fosters a global perspective, helping you understand market trends, identify opportunities, and anticipate cross-border challenges. Additionally, diverse perspectives drive innovation, enhancing creative problem-solving and giving you a competitive edge in a culturally interconnected world.
How do you showcase cross-cultural competencies in the application process?
- Highlight relevant experiences such as study abroad programmes, volunteer work with international organisations, or participation in multicultural events
- Specify accomplishments in cross-cultural settings, such as successful teamwork in a cross-cultural team, resolving cultural conflicts, or achieving project goals in diverse settings
- List foreign language skills if you’re proficient in one or more languages, and make sure mention your level of proficiency. Language skills are a valuable component of intercultural competence
- Describe cultural adaptability experiences, including adjusting to new environments, embracing local customs, and learning from diverse perspectives
- Emphasise soft skills like effective communication, problem solving, leadership and teamwork skills in cross-cultural situations. Mention instances where you overcame language barriers, solved problems, and facilitated understanding among culturally diverse groups. Discuss instances where your ability to navigate cultural differences led to successful outcomes
Becoming a Global Citizen
In an interconnected world, intercultural competencies are essential, enriching your journey and positioning you as a valued contributor. Embracing diversity isn’t just a skill – it’s a mindset that enriches your interactions, broadens your horizons, and empowers you to make a positive impact on the world.
Explore the diverse global landscape with our range of opportunities to embrace cross-cultural competency and thrive in today’s interconnected world on our Careers and Employability website.
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