It's been a busy June! Earlier this month, me and 10,000 other passionate international educators from 100+ countries joined together at the NAFSA 2017 Annual Conference in Downtown Los Angeles (my backyard!).
We talked shop: trends, innovative practices, how to deal with global conflicts, and where the future of meaningful travel is going.
This was my seventh conference and as usual, it fed my [nerdy] global soul!
Meetings over Turkish coffee, networking events across DTLA, thought-provoking professional development sessions, and inspiring training seminars… Add 45+ languages being spoken and you have a global mix of individuals working together to bring the world to young and old.
The best part? I attended workshops by Janet Bennett, Ph.D. and Darla Deardorff, Ph.D., two of the leading researchers in intercultural competence research. Personally, I think they are the biggest reason why meaningful travel is more popular than it’s ever been before.
They have legitimized HOW and WHY breaking out of your comfort zone is so essential to survive in our globalized world.
Intercultural competence is a pretty simple concept actually.
It’s about being curious, self-aware, and empathetic towards others. That’s it.
Sure, it seems fluffy on the outside but us travelers know that experiencing a different culture has a huge impact on our identities. Something that has often been indescribable until Drs. Bennett and Deardorff (and a few others!) established its presence and importance.
“We are not truly educated until we have stepped outside our respective countries.” - Isabel Wilkerson
(NAFSA 2017 Plenary Speaker, Pulitzer prize winning journalist, and best-selling author of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration)