Cross-cultural competence, which is considered a subset of global citizenship, is defined as having an open mind while actively seeking to understand the cultural norms and expectations of others, and then using that knowledge to interact, communicate, and work effectively outside of one’s immediate environment. Hunter, White, and Godbey (2006).
As a university striving to nurture global citizens, our openness enhances the local, national, and global interconnectedness. As we welcome a diverse student body onto the campus, we have the wonderful opportunity to experience new cultures, thanks to the amazing generosity of our students in sharing their cultures and contributing different perspectives, thereby cultivating cultural awareness on our campus, creating a learning environment enriched with cultural perspectives.
For this piece, we capture those insights and the synthesis of cultures from the perspective of the international student living in Galway to the Irish student abroad. We capture a glimpse of the impact that cross-cultural awareness brings, not only to the campus, but also in the local, national, and global sense.
“Studying abroad has been one of my childhood dreams. I’ve always wanted to experience new countries and different people, as well as their languages and cultural backgrounds. Coming to Ireland has greatly helped me bond with students from varied academic and professional backgrounds and experience their cultural beliefs and learnings.
“Befriending people from different countries definitely removes the stereotypical notions we usually harbour and bridges the geopolitical gaps we unknowingly possess. Spending time with my peers made me realise how we complement each other’s existence and that we are humans with similar expectations from life.
“NUI Galway provided me a platform to experience ‘unity in diversity’ along with ‘globalisation’ in its truest form. I recommend everyone to pursue education abroad to experience this cultural exchange, discover one’s strengths and preferences and make friends that will last a lifetime.”
“After 4 years living in Galway, I can say that Galway is my second home that feels like my first. The local people are incredibly amicable, helpful, tolerant, and polite. International Muslim students can live and study here peacefully and enjoyably.”