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Being a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


May 27, 2016

When Kyra Zahn, a fifth-year student at Laurier’s Brantford campus heard about the new Intercultural Certificate program, she knew that she had to enrol.

“This program really opened my eyes to different cultures,” said Zahn. “We are all so different, but yet we are all the same.”

Offered through Laurier International, the Intercultural Certificate program develops new intercultural knowledge, skills and attitudes that stimulate a commitment to lifelong learning and strengthen one’s capacity to become globally engaged and active citizens.

After graduation, Zahn hopes to secure a teaching position. As a future educator, Zahn felt that the six 80-minute module program would help her to become a better teacher.

“Today’s classrooms are filled with diversity, and this program gave me the tools I will need to better understand the future students in my class.”

Maggie Zhang, a soon-to-be Laurier graduate, also enrolled in the certificate program. As an international student from China, she hoped the certificate program would help her to learn about other cultures, and help her to teach other students about her own culture.

Zhang recently completed a four-year degree in Youth and Children’s Studies at Laurier’s Brantford campus. She thought the certificate program was a great way to meet new students, both international and local, and that it provided a safe environment to share her voice.

“When I arrived in Canada four years ago, I was not familiar with the Canadian culture,” said Zhang. “The Intercultural Certificate program provided additional insights not only into Canadian culture, but into other cultures as well.”

Zhang recalls arriving in Canada and being amazed at how friendly everybody was. She was a little confused by everyone greeting each other with, ‘Hello, how are you?’ In China, it is not common to greet people you do not know, nor is it common to ask someone you don’t know how they are doing.

But Zhang quickly learned that Laurier Brantford was her new home away from home, and that the university’s reputation of having a tight-knit community that cares for each other stood to be true.

Offered at both Laurier’s Waterloo and Brantford campuses, the course is open to students in any program. More than 165 students participated in the program this past academic year either as a co-curricular activity or embedded in curricular courses. The course includes the following six modules:

  1. Introduction to concepts of culture.
  2. Introduction to exploring one’s own culture
  3. Introduction to intercultural communication
  4. Exploring difference
  5. Introduction to cultural adaptation
  6. Lifelong intercultural learning

“Students recognize that along with computer skills and media literacy, intercultural skills are a set of core competencies that they must develop to thrive in the interdependent world,” said Phyllis Power, manager, global engagement programming. “Intercultural competence is not an ‘add-on’, but is essential for the personal growth, career development and quality of life of today’s university students.”

The Intercultural Certificate Program was developed in collaboration with Laurier’s Diversity and Equity Office and the Centre for Teaching Innovation and Excellence and is delivered by staff from the three departments.

Laurier International encourages, promotes and seeks opportunities for members of the Laurier community to effectively pursue their interests and careers in a globalized world and enhance their international and intercultural competencies.

For more information, or to register for the Intercultural Certificate program, contact globalengagement@wlu.ca.

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