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DEVELOPING INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE IN ERASMUS MUNDUS: REFLECTIVE PRACTICE THROUGH TECHNOLOGY-ENHANCED LEARNING

D. Lukic1, M. Solari2, M. Yarosh3

1Glasgow Caledonian University (UNITED KINGDOM)
2University for Peace (COSTA RICA)
3Universidad de Deusto (SPAIN)
The mobility that the Erasmus Mundus (EM) programme provides is one of its most important characteristics. Students gain educational experience in at least two countries that have different teaching and learning models as well as different traditions. At the same time, through their mobility, students also get to live in culturally diverse settings. Having to both study and live in several diverse contexts can present intercultural challenges. In order to successfully work and collaborate with their colleagues from across the world, study in culturally different educational institutions and live in different countries, students require a set of abilities for dealing with cultural diversity. These abilities, collectively termed intercultural competence, enable effective studying, living and working across different cultural boundaries.

The paper will present approaches and initial results from the Erasmus Mundus Intercultural Competence Project (EMIC) funded by the EC Erasmus Mundus Action 3 fund. The paper focuses on the approach undertaken to develop intercultural competence within a sample of Erasmus Mundus Master courses. The EMIC Learning Programme employed consists of a face-to-face learning event supported by an online platform and reflective activities. The inter-cultural competence online platform is used for learning activities by participants that extend the learning process and allows reflection and contextualising the learning within participants’ everyday experiences. The paper will detail approaches to integrate qualitative data and real-world experiences of Erasmus Mundus students as the main 'content' of learning and intercultural competence development.

Reflection on own competence and dealing with diversity through emotional and cognitive perspective-taking is a key aspect of intercultural competence development. The paper discusses how this reflective practice can be developed through a combination of face-to-face and online activities. A particular challenge in this process is the inner contradiction of formalised and static elements of blended training and situated nature of reflective practice within participants’ own life and work. The paper provides a set of recommendations for technology-enhanced learning approaches that aim to integrate reflective practice on intercultural issues within (none)formal learning programmes.