In this section, the aim is
- to identify what is meant by internationalisation and global and cultural competence
- to identify what you already know about internationalism and what you can do to expand your knowledge, and
- to learn how to express your ideas and discuss issues related to these topics, for example, when applying for jobs and further studies.
- 20. Introduction to language, culture, and internationalisation
This section proceeds in the order shown in the figure, from the core outwards. It starts with what happens between the ears: the values and attitudes which guide how you react to matters of everyday life, such as opinions, behaviour, and languages. What knowledge, attitudes, and values is your identity built on? What are the issues related to the diversity of languages, cultures, people, and circumstances – to living in the midst of diverse internationalism?
We then move on to look at communities, such as family or friends from school or hobbies. Communities can also be virtual: what groups or communities can you join or follow on social media?
What are the skills needed to become a part of different communities, what do you do well, what do you need to know more of? What language skills do you need? What kinds of situations are likely to give rise to what you might call cultural differences? The diversity of people, communities, languages, and perceptions becomes apparent at the very latest when people do not understand each other or are not being understood.
The outermost layer focuses on internationalisation from the perspective of global cooperation. The aim is to reflect on one’s own responsibility and opportunities to make a difference. Here, we discuss global citizenship, that is, the efforts taken to develop the world in a more just, responsible and sustainable direction. Various ways of making a difference are taught as early as in primary school, such as participating in school sustainability projects or by taking part in different kinds of voluntary work. Global citizenship skills can also be acquired through activities at school, such as during an exchange programme or international projects.Global citizenship skills can also be learned in everyday life, with friends or at work, with people from different cultures and linguistic backgrounds.
- 21. Diverse language skills as an asset
Reflect on your experiences in your language profile
For example, if you have
- participated in international school projects,
- met people from different countries, at work or in your free time,
- participated in international mobility or virtual exchange.
How did you use the languages you know? Did you learn something new? Did you end up correcting your own understandings of different cultures?
International competence through mobility
There are many ways to develop global competence. Internationalisation is often associated with international activities or exchange studies (mobility), even though there are a variety of ways to develop international competence. In general upper secondary school, participating in international cooperation may entail, for example, volunteering in various international organisations in Finland, participating in the school’s international cooperation projects from your home computer, or applying for a job in an international company in Finland.
At the heart of international competence, however, is an understanding of the kind of knowledge that international activities – such as learning to work with people or travelling – bring with them. For example, does travelling provide insight into how culture manifests itself in everyday activities and interaction? Are there circumstances in which travelling offers only a superficial picture of the culture of a given host country?
- 22. Perspectives on mobility