Activity 3: Key concepts (2)

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Activity 3 is a small group activity.

The purpose of this activity is to bring all participants onto the same page regarding the following fundamental concepts which are applied throughout the course: Comprehensive Internationalisation, Internationalisation of Higher Education, Internationalisation of the Curriculum, and Internationalisation at Home. These terms constitute the conceptual underpinning for the policies and practices that enable higher education institutions to train their students to become interculturally competent graduates.

In addition, participants (i) get to know each other in the small groups (preferably 4-5 people at each table), (ii) become involved in small group discussions, and (iii) may therefore also feel more comfortable when contributing to discussions in the large group.

At the end of this activity, participants should be able to describe the concepts and use them in discussions about their own educational development work.


  • In preparation, participants have been asked to read the thematic introduction to this module and watch the accompanying video about these concepts.
  • Participants are given part (a) of the worksheet (see Resources Needed) with the definitions of the four concepts.
    They have already been introduced to these definitions in the text and the video.
  • Participants are now asked to reflect on what for them are the key words or most salient points in these definitions and to discuss these keywords or most salient points in their small groups.
  • Debriefing in the large group: The facilitator takes comments on each of the definitions in turn. This often leads to discussions about the concepts in relation to local realities and allows participants to see that “the world is not perfect” – neither in their own universities, nor in other universities.
  • The facilitator now compares the four definitions discussed and points out that at least three of them have the intercultural dimension in common. What does this mean? – The facilitator introduces the interculturally competent graduate:

An interculturally competent graduate is able to understand, evaluate and relate to ambiguous and uncertain situations and to make culturally correct attributions. This is someone who realizes the relative validity of his or her own frame of reference, yet is firmly rooted in it. This individual is also able to select and use communication styles and behaviour that fit a specific local or intercultural context. An intercultural interaction is seen as successful when interactants (…) are able to develop shared meaning, while acknowledging their own and others’ sociocultural context. (Gregersen-Hermans, 2016:111)

  • Brief discussion in the large group about what is needed to develop such graduates. The facilitator wraps up the discussion by signposting towards the following modules in the EQUiiP programme.

Resources needed

Activity 3 worksheet: (a) with definitions of fundamental concepts, (b) with the definition of the interculturally competent graduate, and (c) with IntlUni Principles if the facilitator chooses to use the variation below.

Please note that the worksheet may be printed as three separate handouts.


Approx. 15 minutes for discussion in the small groups. Debriefing by facilitator can easily take 20-30 minutes with the discussion sparked among participants. This needs to be fitted in with the previous and remaining parts of the session.

Possible variations

The facilitator will need to determine how much s/he is prepared to go into discussions about the local contexts represented in the room. These may vary depending on whether there are participants from one institution, but several departments; or there are participants from different institutions or even countries.

The facilitator may also wrap up by referring to the three groups of actors (the three dimensions) in the IntlUni Quality Principles: the higher education institution, the teachers, and the students, and by discussing the role of the ED in between the policies and practices at institutional level and the lecturer teaching international programmes (Cozart et al. 2015:17-22).

The table is available as part (c) of the worksheet.


Gregersen-Hermans, J. (2016). The Impact of an International University Environment on Students’ Intercultural Competence Development. Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan. DOI:  10.13140/RG.2.2.27036.28800.

Cozart, S. M., Haines, K., Lauridsen, K.M. & Vogel, T. (2015). The IntlUni principles for quality teaching and learning in the multilingual and multicultural learning space. In Lauridsen, K. M. & Lillemose, M.K. (eds) Opportunities and challenges in the multilingual and multicultural learning space. Final document of the IntlUni Erasmus Academic Network project 2012-15. Aarhus: IntlUni.