lion-dance-kf4m1926 2Compass Points

Cultural Awareness

Experiences in which students encounter individuals whose cultural, ethnic or socioeconomic background differs from their own, thereby broadening their awareness of the breadth of values, beliefs and practices present in the world

Today's increasingly global society engenders recognition of the very diverse ways that people live, limiting the human capacity to exist in isolation from others whose days are filled with joys and challenges extraordinarily different than one's own. Given the inevitability of such interaction, opportunities to discover cultures abound. Learning how to be gracious amid diversity and furthering concern for honored practices are positive aspects of developing cultural awareness. Students who choose this compass point will become astute at observing how what is familiar to one person may be fascinating to another, abandoning judgment of individuals while questioning the forces that cause segregation, hostility, and social stratification. Upon completion of their endeavor, students should extrapolate tools from the experience that help them to be ready for other cultures they will encounter.

Examples of activities that promote cultural awareness:

• Planning world cafés in which students and outside speakers share insights about cultural and social factors that play a role in current events;

• Volunteering at a prison, rehabilitation facility or another setting where individuals are separated from society;

• Serving an internship in sociology and psychology working with underserved populations;

• Enacting an ethnic or religious holiday associated with a tradition other than one's own;

• Interacting for a semester, through email or Skype, with students at a college in another country.