Intercultural learning – what is it?

Congratulations – your intercultural learning journey – the MIRAI program – has just started!

As a participant to the MIRAI program, you are a part of an intercultural learning journey. You will take part in the Global Competences Certificate (GCC) where you first will travel virtually through different steps of intercultural learning. Then, you will travel to Japan with 150 other young people. You will live with a host family. You will meet people with different values and beliefs, from different backgrounds, ethnicity and who speak a different language than you. This is all a part of your intercultural learning journey. Don’t worry – we will travel with you, and you can always talk to us when experiencing similarities and differences. The most important part of your intercultural learning journey is, however, that you are able to stop and reflect upon the experiences you have – and open up to personal growth.

Photo: EFIL

Now, let’s zoom out and look more at the term “intercultural learning”. You might wonder “What is intercultural learning?” and “Why intercultural learning?”. We hope that through MIRAI, you will get a better idea on what intercultural learning is and why it is important to you, your community and us!

Intercultural learning (short: ICL) is learning about and with other cultures. It has a theoretical aspect and a practical aspect. You will experience both. Through the first 9 obligatory modules of the GCC course that you are participating in online, you will look more into theories of culture – such as definitions of culture, intercultural communication and intercultural conflicts. In Japan, you will experience yourself cultural similarities and differences, and you will learn more about yourself and others through intercultural encounters.

Photo: EFIL

Getting to know your own culture better, and how you react when meeting a completely new culture, is very valuable information for yourself. Being more aware, you will also be more able to deal with challenging situations that might arise when cultures meet, either in your home community or when you are in a new environment. That is one of the reasons why intercultural learning is important. You will learn to appreciate the differences – and to make a better community together.

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