The cross-cultural learning integral to the INTERLINK experience increases students’ understanding of their own and others’ cultures; it informs respect for the worth and consequence of the norms, values, and behaviors in all cultures; and it allows the student both to discern and communicate cultural differences with sensitivity and confidence. Thus, each student is better prepared not only to be culturally adept but to be able, in Francis Bacon’s summary phrase, “to retain one’s own dignity without intruding upon the liberty of others.”
Cross-cultural learning informs every aspect of INTERLINK’s curriculum, services, and personal relationships. This may have immediate impact on students’ positive adjustment to a new educational, social, and cultural environment. Cross-cultural learning creates in students self-awareness, awareness about one’s own culture, and appreciation for cultural differences. The resulting self-efficacy frees students to share themselves in ways that demonstrate respect, assurance of one’s identity, and friendship.
As cross-cultural educators, INTERLINK faculty and staff must be continuously sensitive, alert, and adroit in response to the different assumptions, expectations, needs, and surprises confounding the individual student’s encounter with the new culture. They, too, must be eager, humble, and diligent in their own cross-cultural learning. INTERLINK engenders, encourages, and endorses cross-cultural learning at its partner institutions and in its communities. Its purpose and function at each university is to participate in and contribute to international education on campus and beyond.