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The Center for Intercultural Learning (CIL)

Why intercultural competence?

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We understand intercultural competence as the “ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in intercultural situations on the basis of one’s own knowledge, capabilities and attitudes.” (Bertelsmann Foundation 2006,14)

Intercultural competence is meanwhile considered a key competence for all those who find themselves increasingly confronted with diversity and exchange through globalization and internationalization. Since the Bologna Reform it is seen as one of the most important key competences in university education.

How does intercultural learning work?


Intercultural competence is a multi-layered entity, which requires knowledge as well as emotional and communicative competences. Therefore we orientate ourselves on the intercultural learning spiral model that is based on Deardorffs Process Model of Intercultural Competence[1] and was further developed by Gundula Gwenn Hiller in 2010.


The learning spiral


... accommodates the dynamic culture concept

… highlights the continuous dynamic process that touches various dimensions thereby accumulating and developing spirally. This process affects the following four areas:
          • attitudes
          • intercultural knowldedge and skills
          • reflection competence as internal outcome
          • action competence as external outcome
… stands for life-long learning, i.e. every intercultural interaction reflects back on the underlying competences, attitudes and skills.

[1] Source: http://www.ngobg.info/bg/documents/49/726bertelsmanninterculturalcompetences.pdf