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Student COIL Libguide

Intercultural Communication

In a COIL project, you will work with students and instructors that come from another institution, another country and another culture. Intercultural communication, which is defined as the communication between people from different cultures, is important to ensure that your cross-border collaborations and interactions with your peers abroad are productive and appropriate.

Why is intercultural communication important within a COIL context?

COIL collaborations support the development of intercultural competencies among individuals. In fact, intercultural communication is the essence of COIL. For many students, COIL may be your first opportunity to engage with students from different cultures. Understanding the basis of intercultural communication will help you prepare to be respectful, mindful and open to learning with and from your peers during the COIL project. These are important competencies for professional and personal growth.

Importance of Intercultural Communication Skills

With social media, we are able to have increasing contact with people from different cultural backgrounds. Developing advanced intercultural communication skills is important for learning and working in increasingly diverse communities. See the importance of building intercultural communication skills below:

  1. The labour market is extremely diverse. Having advanced intercultural communication skills will help you work with global teams productively.
  2. Developing intercultural communication skills can help you recognize your own communication habits, strengths, and weaknesses. 
  3. Learning to communicate with a variety of people will help you succeed in group work. 
  4. You will become more comfortable with navigating differences.

Effective Intercultural Communication Module