大家好, kia ora koutou and hello! Earlier this semester, I had the amazing opportunity to complete the AFS Global Competence Certificate (GCC) virtual programme, which across 4 weeks explored a range of intercultural theories and models designed to equip us with the knowledge, skills, and understanding to interact effectively in a global and cross-cultural environment.
In an increasingly diverse and fast-changing world, I think it is incredibly important to understand and embrace the differences in our society in all their forms and develop global competencies to help us navigate them. A great aspect of the AFS GCC was how tailored the educational material was to help us explore the tools to engage in open and appropriate and effective day-to-day interactions with people from different cultures. The programme comprised of self-paced modules, forum discussions and four live sessions with the qualified facilitator and students from all over Aotearoa as well as some from overseas. Due to its flexible nature, I really appreciated how I could complete the modules at my own pace while also studying my courses at university.
In this Global Competence Certificate program journey, I was able to develop greater self-awareness to better understand my own identity. I loved getting exposed to so many new concepts such as the Kolb’s experimental learning cycle, empathy, cultural value dimesnsions, Hammer’s intercultural conflict styles, privilege, and many more. The content included a series of examples and case studies that broadened my perspective on how others may experience certain events differently than I do, and how to use practical strategies and methods to connect with people from other cultures and backgrounds. With the new information freshly in our minds, I really enjoyed the engaging korero about diversity, inclusivity, and leadership which challenged us to think about how we could transfer this newfound knowledge into real life. 🌏
From growing my self awareness, awareness of others, emotional intelligence, and building bridges to others, the modules guided me to understand the impact of differences within my team or communities. In particular, getting to know the concept of privilege and how it shapes our access to opportunities and the barriers we face in life, has widen my perspectives in examining glocal intercultural issues. The AFS GCC has really complemented my studies at the University of Auckland and personal aspirations of creating more equity in our society through collective social actions.
Overall, the programme has helped me to not only expand my network with other students from different parts of the world, but to really embrace our differences as our greatest strength and seek understanding as our greatest gift. Through mutual listening and sharing of our ideas, reflections and learning, I was able to become a more confident individual with a real sense of whanaungatanga (kinship) in the global commmunity. Having witnessed how empowered and passionate everyone was by the end of our last live session, I truly encourage more students to seize the opportunity to partake in such a programme, meet like-minded and inspiring friends to become global citizens together!