International experience is about more than crossing borders and visiting other countries. It’s about the meeting of different people, languages, traditions, values and ways of interpreting the world — international experience is intercultural experience. There are so many wonderful benefits:
- Travelling to a new country builds confidence and expands your comfort zone.
- Learning to connect with people from different cultures leads to quicker adaptation and success in new environments.
- Intercultural competencies will help you manage the challenges of a global workplace.
- International experiences cultivate cultural and interpersonal understanding and help build more effective communication skills.
- Speaking multiple languages builds higher-level cognitive abilities.
Intercultural learning happens wherever different cultures meet. It’s partly about gaining practical knowledge of the differences and similarities between cultures, but it also goes deeper. It involves discovering how your own cultural identities shape the way you understand and operate in the world, and recognizing culture at work in your everyday experience. It is also the key to a rewarding international experience. Expanding your own intercultural awareness transforms the way you communicate with people and helps you form meaningful connections.
Simply immersing yourself in a different culture does not automatically produce intercultural awareness. In reality, it usually depends on a blend of personal motivation and guided learning. Check out CIE’s Intercultural Learning Program (ILP) for a way to build your intercultural skills at home or abroad.
Share your experience
If you need help with the complexities of adjusting to a new culture, we encourage you to share your experience with us. Expressing yourself in words can be empowering. Our staff are actively involved in current intercultural literature and discussions, which means you have access to guidance from experts in the field.