Langara College Students Build Intercultural Competence through International Exchanges
Students in the Recreation Leadership Diploma Program at Langara College are collaborating online with peers around the globe to develop intercultural competence.
The Collaborative Online Intercultural Learning – Virtual Exchange (COIL-VE) has led to exchanges with students at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and The Technical University of Dublin (TU Dublin). Intercultural skills training and virtual exchanges with international partner institutions are now components of the recreation program, and Langara students are required to demonstrate competency in diversity and inclusion.
“COIL-VE projects provide students with an opportunity to learn collaboratively in a virtual environment and explore global issues working constructively across cultures with diverse groups of people,” said Erin Wilkins, Department Chair of Recreation Studies at Langara College. “It is integral that we come together as global citizens to support one another and work together. We are proud to provide our students with the skills necessary to adapt and manage whatever circumstances arise in the workplace and in the world.”
In the first year of the program students complete an intercultural skills training module (2IQ2) in the Direct Leadership in Recreation course and build a foundation of intercultural competencies, as well as their first experience working with a COIL-VE project and students at Penn State.
In the second year, students participate in another COIL-VE project where they are paired with students at TU Dublin to explore global issues and trends such as community development strategies. The COIL-VE projects are co-facilitated by faculty at Langara College and faculty at the partner institutions to achieve common learning objectives.
“It was a pleasure to develop a network of emerging international community development professionals and to facilitate the students learning of new perspectives while completing their field work,” said Mairead McCluskey, Coordinator of Community Development and Youth Work Programmes at the TU Dublin.
Students use online tools to develop digital literacy that bridges geographic boundaries, allowing them to work with peers at partner institutions around the world. Students become more aware of cultural differences and more competent in their ability to be flexible and adaptable in an intercultural environment. These skills make them more employable and more effective in their future workplace.