Students participating in simulated international negotiations.

Imagine working as part of a multicultural and multilingual team for a project with global reach. How can you prepare yourself now to work collaboratively with diverse individuals from around the world—in order to foster mutual understanding, build partnerships, and effect social change?

In this ever-changing world, intercultural competence is critical for professionals seeking careers domestically and internationally. Professionals with intercultural competence can best navigate new and complex environments—whether online or in person. 

We emphasize intercultural competence—fostering students’ ability to effectively listen to, communicate with, and take action in communities with a range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Cultures are structured aspects of human behavior in social life, in national and local contexts (political, linguistic, economic, institutional, and professional). Cultures are composed of ideologies and worldviews, practices and actions, participation, and communication. Intercultural competence involves a meta-level ability to recognize and analyze patterns and relationships across diverse contexts.

Intercultural competence has three primary attributes—knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Through our ICC curriculum, you have the unparalleled opportunity to develop in these areas while you prepare for your future career.

Intercultural Competence Committee

The Intercultural Competence (ICC) Committee is made up of current faculty, staff, and students. With an emphasis on intercultural knowledge, skills, and attitudes, the committee focuses on curriculum and assessment, providing preparation, resources, and reflection opportunities for domestic and international immersive learning experiences, building intercultural events for students, staff, and faculty, and cultivating partnerships across campus and beyond.

2020–2021 Committee Members

  • Netta Avineri, Associate Professor, TESOL/TFL, ICC Committee Chair
  • Carles Andreu, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Spanish Translation
  • Mahabat Baimyrzaeva, Associate Professor, International Policy and Development
  • Jason Blazakis, Professor of Practice, Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies
  • Lawrence Garber, Student, International Environmental Policy
  • Sabino Morera, Associate Professor, Language Studies
  • Jennifer Peck, Academic Coordinator, Custom Language Services
  • Carolyn Taylor Meyer, Director of Immersive Professional Learning
  • Lyuba Zarsky, Professor, International Environmental Policy

Intercultural Competence Course Work

Fostering intercultural competence is central to all degree programs at the Institute, and students take courses taught in their chosen language of study and courses in intercultural studies. Each year, a distinguished group of faculty teach these courses.

Sample courses:

  • COVID-19: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on the Pandemic
  • Developing Intercultural Training in Organizations
  • Multilingual Communication in Intercultural Settings
  • Service-Learning: International and Domestic Community Partnerships
  • Trust Across Cultures

Intercultural Competence (ICC) Specialization

Students in any degree program who want to deepen their intercultural studies can choose to add the Intercultural Competence Specialization to their degrees. The ICC specialization is designed for those interested in leadership careers in diverse international contexts.

New Student Orientation

Dr. Netta Avineri provides a “Communicating in Intercultural Spaces” session for all new students. Students can share where they are “local” and discuss their approaches to issues around empathy, community engagement, and ethics. We explore the tensions and dilemmas that can arise during multilingual and intercultural interactions—between participation, observation, and documentation; between being an insider and an outsider; or between being humble and being an expert. We also discuss intercultural and multilingual scenarios and our approaches to them as a way to prepare for intercultural interactions at the Middlebury Institute and beyond.

Contact Us

Contact Associate Professor Netta Avineri, chair of the Intercultural Competence Committee, for more information.