We made it to the final month of this crazy year! I must admit, in my house, COVID + Minnesota + winter has meant an increase in Netflix consumption. In addition to enjoying the latest season of The Crown, my family has also been watching the docuseries The Royal House of Windsor (apparently we can’t get enough of the royal family). Last night, we watched an episode about how Prince Phillip sought to modernize the monarchy when his wife, Queen Elizabeth, took the helm in the 1950s. However, the royal family wouldn’t hear of modernizing. Fast forward to the 1960s—times had changed drastically, and not only was the royal family more open to the idea of modernization, but they realized it was necessary, and Prince Phillip was there to lead the way.
It occurred to me that those of us who have been advocating for more intentional focus on intercultural learning in higher education may now find ourselves in a situation similar to that of Prince Phillip in the 1960s—presented with an opportunity to finally make strides in efforts we’ve long considered necessary. As I wrote in a blog post this past summer, “I believe that we are in the midst of a potential paradigm shift in higher education, particularly around intercultural learning.” Our current challenges “are increasing awareness and forcing intentionality and innovation in the intercultural learning space.”
In that vein, I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of True North Intercultural’s best resources from 2020. I hope that you may use these resources to help you consider the role you might play in advancing intercultural learning in 2021 and beyond.
Over a thousand educators have gone through these two free trainings offered in 2020. A new offering is being developed for 2021, so be sure to check out these trainings before they disappear!
- Reimagining International Education: Thinking Differently in Times of Crisis
- The Transformative Intercultural Educator Framework: How to Help Your Students Be & Do Better When Crossing Cultures
The ups and downs of 2020 provided plenty of important topics to discuss here. The following is a selection of the most popular posts this year.
- Crisis as Opportunity: A Paradigm Shift for Intercultural Learning?
- Black Lives Matter & Intercultural Development in Higher Education
- Tips for Fostering Intercultural Learning during COVID-19
- COVID-19 and the Future of Intercultural Learning in Higher Education
- Coronavirus, Intercultural Learning & Self-Care
In 2020, I ventured into the YouTube realm. My videos are nothing fancy, but I find it’s been an effective and timely way to respond to frequently-asked questions and share resources. The following are three of the most-watched videos on the True North Intercultural YouTube channel.
- Defining Intercultural Learning (in under 5 minutes)
- Why do I use the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)?
- Tips for Facilitating Intercultural Learning Online
At the beginning of 2020, we started offering a new-and-improved version of our 12-week train-the-trainer program, now called Facilitating Intercultural Learning. In 2020, we ran one private and four public cohorts, with almost 80 educators completing the program this year!
In November, we launched a new online course: Navigating Cultural Differences. This course offers a more accessible (in price and format) introductory option for educators looking to develop their intercultural understanding and skill set.
Both programs are open for individual enrollment, and also available as private cohorts with customizable options for institutions seeking to build intercultural capacity among groups large and small.
Learn more about these programs:
- Facilitating Intercultural Learning (now accepting applications for the January 2021 cohort)
- Navigating Cultural Differences
The Intercultural Educators Community is a free Facebook group for faculty, staff, and administrators working in higher education who are interested in intercultural teaching and learning. Membership in this lively online community is quickly approaching 1,000 educators!
It’s been quite a year! I’d encourage you to reflect back as well and take stock of what you’ve accomplished this year—big and small—even in these challenging times. What are you most proud of from this past year? What are you looking forward to in 2021? Leave a comment below.
Join the Conversation!
Enjoying the blog? You’re invited to join me and an amazing group of higher education professionals committed to fostering intercultural learning at the next Intercultural Leadership Forum! You'll have a chance to connect with others doing this work and gain new insights as you move toward your intercultural goals.