Madeline: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (June 2021)

I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to be apart of the 2021 cohort for the Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership virtual programme. The world around us as well as the people within it are constantly changing and the ways in which we can identify and express ourselves are evolving ever so rapidly. I decided to participate in this programme as I knew there was so much about the world that I was unaware of.

This course provides you with the opportunity to not only meet and become friends with fellow students from around the world, but it also teaches you how to best understand, utilise and embrace one’s differences. This course teaches you that there is no set and “correct” way of being a leader, but that everyone has the potential to become a leader. We are all given a different set of weaknesses that put us at certain disadvantages, but we are also all given a set of strengths that if utilised can take us to places we never thought possible.

Throughout the duration of this course, I was able to identify the leadership style which I have, my own weaknesses which I was able to improve and turn into strengths as well as always remembering to look at things from a different perspective. My personal journey throughout this course taught me that for one to be an effective leader, they must be able to take a step back and look at situations in someone else’s shoes. An effective leader should have the ability to display empathy and avoid personal bias within the workspace. An effective leader should be able to notice when there is an opportunity to push those around them to reach their full potential and when to allow individuals to take a step back and breathe. An effective leader tries their best to be fully aware of the culture and atmosphere set in the workplace and should always aim to find ways for improvement in all things.

Thanks to the valuable content I was able to learn through this course, I am confident that I am on my way to taking the necessary steps to ensuring that one day I am able to become an effective leader. For any future students who are considering this course, I highly recommend it. It is not overly time consuming where it puts your studies and current commitments at risk, but it is also not a course which does not provide enough engaging content and material. Diversity and inclusion of it in all aspects of life is the future. Diversity and inclusion is the only way to success.

Fiza: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate – The 360  International Blog

Molly: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (June 2021)

The Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (GILC) is a nine-week online course covering concepts such as leadership and identity theory, cultural humility, critical race theory, intercultural communication, perspective shifting and emotional agility. Having never taken a leadership course I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was a very worthwhile experience and I would recommend it.

The course has nine modules of self-paced learning, with a new module opening each week. Course content is a mix of theory, case studies and personal reflections guided by questions. I was a little surprised at how much thought and time the personal reflection part of the course took, but it was rewarding and gave me personal insights I would not have come to without the course. The workload was reasonable – around 4-6 hours per week, with variation from week to week. The flexible nature of the module learning was beneficial to balance with university work and allowed for time to reflect properly on the course content too. There are a few submissions during the course – a two-page critical incident reflection, a perspective shifting exercise, some video reflections and a final project. These reinforced the course content well.

I found the perspective shifting exercise and surrounding teaching on empathy and emotional agility to be particularly useful. Perspective shifting and empathy are not concepts that are explicitly taught in many courses. If mentioned, they usually come in the form of buzzwords. The concrete skills and methods GILC introduced were not something I had come across before, and were useful not only in a career context but also as life skills.

One of the best things about the course was the three zoom sessions with a relatively small cohort of 12-15 people from around the world. Meeting people from many different countries with different perspectives and experiences was thought provoking and enjoyable. The course has strong organisation and support systems – the course coordinator, Lizzy, was happy to help with questions. The University of Auckland 360 team were also supportive – they checked in throughout the course, which I really appreciated.

While a leadership course could hypothetically be quite intimidating, the GILC team make no assumptions about whether you define yourself as a ‘leader’ already or not. It is more focussed on teaching students the skills to be critical thinkers, and empathetic, intercultural communicators – ultimately giving students the tools to progress towards inclusive, confident and competent leadership. I’m very grateful to have been given this opportunity, and I will use the knowledge and skills I have learned with me throughout my tertiary education and in my career.

Fiza: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate – The 360  International Blog

Kelly: AFS Global Competence Certificate (July 2021)

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!

Global Competence Certificate (GCC) | AFS Intercultural Programs

Jessica: AFS NZ Global Competence Certificate (March 2021)

Like many fellow students, I’ve missed out on studying abroad due to the pandemic. That being said, understanding how to be a global citizen is still vital, and participating in AFS Global Competency will help develop the knowledge and skills for when the world starts moving again. Before applying, I read many excellent recommendations from AFS Intercultural Programs, and I’m so thrilled the 360 International Team facilitated this opportunity. Thank you to everyone!

The AFS Global Competence Certificate is an 18 module video-based learning program that develops intercultural competencies and helps students deal with cultural adjustments, such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and bridging across differences, to name a few. All key educational goals are essential to navigate today’s diverse world, whether you are preparing for a semester abroad, a global internship, or want to stand out in the job market where diversity and cultural intelligence are essential. An online discussion board complimented these videos with both past and current students from the program, as well as live discussions facilitated by Rosie, a fantastic lecturer from Massey who made sure us students from all over the world were included in sharing our thoughts and opinions with the group.

One of the more compelling modules (in my opinion!) was learning about stereotypes versus generalisations – while stereotypes are harmful and often damaging simplified descriptions of people from different cultures, generalisations help us prepare for an appropriate first encounter. For example, individuals from individualistic cultures and collectivistic cultures often value different things. They have very distinct social frameworks, similar to how conflict in hierarchical cultures differs from egalitarian cultures. It was also interesting to learn about different common communication styles between cultures. High context communicators read between the lines, are non-verbal and direct, and may need to build trust to communicate directly. Low context communicators express straightforwardly, explicitly conveying a message and pay attention to words rather than environment or context. Everyone has that friend who is very blunt but has a large heart, just as everyone has that friend who dislikes conflict and prefers to speak in metaphors to keep the harmony. Whether you are a fan of tough love or reading in between the lines, this module will shed some light on why we communicate the way we do. There is a connection between individualism and low context styles, and collectivism and high context styles – while this isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, I think it’s a fantastic thing to keep in mind when travelling or working with people from different cultures to inform your behaviour. The module concluded with practical tips for low context communicators to adapt to high context communications styles and vice versa, which effectively brings theoretical concepts into the real world for tangible situations. 

The bottom line: don’t let travel bans stop your career! This program will help strengthen your soft skills like team collaboration, tolerance and creativity, and independence because it’s up to you to manage your time before the following discussion group. Taking part in this virtual program will also help strengthen adaptability and cultural awareness, all of which are pursued by employers but can best be learned beyond the traditional classroom setting. 

Marina: AFS NZ Global Competence Certificate – The 360 International Blog

Lauren: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (March 2021)

For the past 9 weeks I have had the privilege of partaking in the ‘Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership’ virtual program. Across these 9 weeks we have been introduced to a number of concepts that are critical for becoming a strong leader. These included cultural humility, critical race theory, intercultural competencies, and inclusive leadership. We explored a number of different theories of identity, from stages of psychosocial development, to intersectionality, and multiculturalism. We were encouraged to think about our own construction of identity – what groups do we identify with, and why, as well as drawing out the features of our personality.

We learned about the dangers of an ethnocentric approach, to be an inclusive leader we must recognize our cultural biases and keep them in perspective. We were introduced to ‘radical empathy’ – an exercise where we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes – but critically, someone who we would not ordinarily identify with. We also looked internally at our own ‘critical incidents’, that is, a moment in our lives where we faced a challenge, and we explored our reactions from the physical to the emotional. The course used a number of different media and learning tools, which kept it interesting and diverse. We read academic articles, grey literature, watched TedTalks, filled in surveys and online tests, as well as modules that were customized by the Diversity Abroad team especially for this certificate.

We also met as a group three times, which allowed us to discuss in real time what we had studied so far. Ruby moderated our live meetings, and she did a wonderful job of guiding our conversations and creating a warm and open environment. This course gave us a leader’s toolkit. We reflected on what was important to us as leaders, and how to strike a balance of maintaining our principles and our unique point of view, without subjugating anyone else at the expense of doing so. Time management can sometimes be a challenge with taking on extracurricular activities, but I managed this by setting aside a block of hours every week and took it in chunks.

We could manage the content on our own time, so I was able to keep it evenly distributed across the course. I appreciated the emphasis on inter-cultural issues, because these things can often be hard to articulate, but the course put into words a broad range of concepts and broke them down week by week so we left with a really great perspective. I highly recommend this course – it was well organized and run, it has very interesting and engaging materials, and I feel I came out of it confident with my leadership identity.

Thanks 360 for this opportunity! And thanks to Ruby and the team at Diversity Abroad!

Fiza: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate – The 360  International Blog

Marina: AFS NZ Global Competence Certificate (March 2021)

The AFS: Global Competence Certificate was delivered in virtual modules that would prepare us for the online sessions, where we would discuss specific topics. Regarding the modules, we would watch videos or read texts, and then we would post our experiences/thoughts on forums, where we could interact with each other over the weeks, and the more effort you put into them, the more you get out of the discussions. I enjoyed the format of the discussions, which were often in breakout rooms on Zoom and every time with different people from the group, so that over time you got to know everyone. The discussions were exciting and engaging, and session by session, everyone would feel more comfortable expressing themselves. Also, I found that most of the topics resonated with me.

What I loved about the GCC was the possibility of getting in contact with people from other Universities across New Zealand who are undertaking different programmes. At university, we sometimes only interact with people from our programme and/or campus, and I found that this diversity enriched the discussions. There were also international students in the GCC, which brings different perspectives to the topics we discussed. A challenge that I faced was that as a non-native English speaker, I am usually self-conscious and shy about online discussions. After the GCC and primarily because of the virtual meetings where I had to participate, I feel more confident in situations where I need to interact virtually.

Being self-assured in online discussions is an important skill to develop since many things are performed online nowadays, and GCC was a good start for me to overcome this obstacle. A skill that I believe is essential and that the GCC programme helped me with is cultural competence. This skill is also one of the principles in the Code of Ethical Conduct for my profession. As a future health care provider, especially in a multicultural country such as New Zealand, it is essential that I learn how to improve this skill. Differently from what I thought initially, we can learn how to be culturally competent.

The GCC enhanced previous experiences I have had to reflect on them and improve my cultural competency. Another skill that I consider essential and that we touched on that a few times is active listening. The modules provided us with examples of what kind of listeners we might be, and although I always considered myself a good listener, I was surprised to realize that was not the case. From that moment on, I have been trying to apply what I learned in the modules and discussions to be a better listener. To any student who might be interested in virtual programmes, I would definitely encourage them. It is an excellent opportunity to get to know interesting people and to broaden your horizons and perspectives.

Global Competence Certificate (GCC) | AFS Intercultural Programs

Ashley: AFS NZ Global Competence Certificate (March 2021)

AFS Global Competence Certificate was an extremely valuable and constructive course that has given me knowledge in a wide range of areas that will be imperative for success within my future endeavors.

The course ran for three weeks, with two live zoom sessions per week. Although it was challenging fitting in two lectures a week, it was the correct amount of time, as there was a lot of content to go through, and I wouldn’t have wanted to cut any of it out. One of the brilliant aspects of AFS was that it gives you a chance to learn as you go and doesn’t require an exam at the end. You complete a variety of modules along the way without the pressure of knowing you have an exam at the end.

The live zoom sessions were very engaging as the professor facilitating the zoom would talk and teach and encourage fellow course members to participate. There was never any point within the live zoom where I was not captivated. The hour and a half went very quickly, often with things left to say. The zoom breakout rooms were used effectively to ensure you had smaller groups to discuss things further, and by the end of the course, you had engaged with all members. The programme was challenging in terms of time commitments with University and work; however, with tight time management, it all works out in the end. Through my overseas exchange, I learned a lot about being globally competent; however, AFS went one step further to make you more self-aware and equipped in handling different scenarios. You acquire skills in identifying stereotypes, gain vital information in terms of empathy and listening, and look into culture, communication, and conflict.

One of the main areas that I took away from the course was spiritual diversity, power, and privilege. The spiritual diversity module allowed me to understand how to deal with different situations where the spirituality in a workplace or other was different from your own and how to combat different scenarios that may arise. The power and privilege section ensured you were more conscious and informed about how your upbringing, status, education and opportunities allowed you to be where you are. Everyone’s start to life is hugely varied and can put you ahead before you even know it.

AFS provided many different strategies to combat life and ensure you are always aware of people’s feelings and situations. I would highly encourage students to enter into this virtual programme or another. It has allowed me to now feel resourceful in entering different workplaces and situations, knowing I have the capabilities to deal with whatever arises. Virtual programmes will enable you to gain knowledge and skill in contrasting areas from your study to enhance different thinking and reasoning ways.

Global Competence Certificate (GCC) | AFS Intercultural Programs

Lisa: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (October 2020)

If you are looking for a course that will challenge and inspire you in ways you hadn’t even considered possible, I encourage you to look no further than the Global Inclusive Leadership certificate offered by Diversity Abroad.

In my experience, a lot of so called “leadership certificates” can often be so dry, simply reiterating what we have already heard a million times before. I can however confidently say that this course couldn’t be further from that. Filled with inspiring modules, videos that had me pausing them every three seconds to reflect on the truth bombs that had just been dropped on me and many opportunities for interaction, this leadership course is one that offers solutions.

We are all in need of the leadership skills offered in this course, whether you’ve considered yourself a leader since you crawled out of the crib or whether the word “leadership” alone makes you want to crawl into a hole and hide – everyone has something to learn from this course. I personally definitely identify more with the crawling-into-a-hole variety, and yet I have found myself opening up and taking initiative much more than I had done prior to the course.

I have learnt that you don’t need be leading a march with torch in hand or hurling commands at others to be considered a leader, but that empathetic and inspiring leadership can be all the more effective.

Caitlin: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (October 2020)

I had the privilege of being involved in the Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate, which took place virtually over 9 weeks in late October-December 2020. The programme encompassed 4-6 hours of weekly module completion as well as three online live events which were recorded.

Initially I did not know what to expect from the programme, besides what I had read in the programme description. The initial application process was not too difficult and the 360 International Staff at University, were very helpful. The programme consisted of 9 weeks’ worth of modules including video submissions, readings, assigned video’s to watch and a final community project. Everything was conducted online so the flexibility of the programme helped while I finished off university exams.

The three live sessions took place on zoom with the other programme participants; there were around 10-15 of us around the world. The first module focussed on leadership and identity which helped to ease into the deeper content that we learnt. My favourite module was module 6 which focused on inclusive leadership: unlocking the value of diversity and inclusion. This was because we learnt about what inclusive leadership was, what 4 key areas inclusive leaders excel in, and reflected on empathy and leadership. Empathy was one of my key takeaways from this programme; I was able to further develop and understand my own level of empathy as a leader, and work towards being a more empathetic inclusive leader in different environments. I believe this is crucial for leaders to develop.

Another key takeaway was from module 5: examining local, global and intercultural issues. This was interesting and eye opening as we learnt about ‘critical race theory’ and unpacked what ‘privilege’ is. As someone who is engaging in being an inclusive leader, this was very important.

A challenge during the programme was the virtual format of the programme given Covid-19 and University teaching turning to online format also. This made looking at the computer screen more difficult as I would already be spending 5-10 hours a day studying online, thus can get mentally tiring. Some advice I would give to students thinking about virtual programmes is to think about your why; why are you wanting to give it a go? what do you hope to achieve? how will you keep connections throughout the programme? and, what can you do to implement what you learnt back into your everyday life and life vision? Make the most of every opportunity.

I am very thankful that I was given this opportunity and it has definitely helped to further develop my inclusive leadership skills.

Fiza: Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate (October 2020)

Despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic this year, I was given the opportunity to undertake an exciting virtual programme with the help of the 360 international team. The programme was titled, “Diversity Abroad Global Inclusive Leadership Certificate” and ran for 9 weeks, starting from mid October to mid December. I was required to attend three live sessions with the programme coordinators and students from other countries who were also participating in this programme. As for the programme itself, it was divided into 9 modules, each comprising specific activities such as written reflections, videos, articles and also assignments that had to be completed before the end of the programme.

I truly enjoyed the programme because of various reasons. Firstly, due to its flexible nature, I could complete the modules at my own pace while also studying my courses at university. However, at the same time, my advice to future students would be to manage their time effectively and not leave the completion of the modules to the last minute. It would be a good idea to do small portions of the modules throughout the week so that you can finish the programme by the due date. At times when you feel stressed or find something confusing, your first action should be to contact your coordinator as they are very responsive to emails and will do their best to assist you.

Secondly, this programme taught me many crucial skills related to intercultural communication and inclusive leadership. I was exposed to many new and complex concepts such as emotional agility, empathy, critical race theory, cultural humility, Galtung’s triangle of violence, six personal leadership practices, privilege and many more. An example of a situation where I developed one of these skills was when I had to complete an assignment on the six personal leadership practices. This assignment required me to write a short report on a critical incident that I had encountered in my life. After assessing this incident by walking through the six practices, my view of the situation had changed drastically and I was able to find a way to manage conflict of ideas while working with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Such a skill will be extremely beneficial for not just my future career but also nearly in any sphere of life. This is because, in a globalised world, it is nearly impossible to not have critical incidents at some point of your life when working with a diversity of people. However, this skill has taught me how I can find a middle ground with my colleagues or fellows during such tense situations without sacrificing my own goals and visions entirely.

Lastly, I truly enjoyed being part of engaging conversations with other students in the programme during the live sessions. It helped me to not only expand my network, but also gave me insight into how other students from different parts of the world were trying to be inclusive leaders in their own communities. By listening to their ideas and also voicing my own learnings, I believe that I was able to become a more confident individual, and feel as though I belonged to a global community. For this reason, I would encourage more students to partake in such a programme because it will definitely provide them with unique perspectives and a sense of global citizenship.