Interkulturelle Kommunikation
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Ivett Guntersdorfer, PhD

Intercultural Competence in Higher Education –
Research for the Intercultural Communication Certificate Program at the LMU-Munich


Intercultural Competence (ICC) seems unseizable. Scholars, trainers and professionals in international and intercultural education have amassed an undeniably large number of articles and materials on this topic. The meaning and the value of Intercultural Competence give the impression of a communis opinio, nonetheless by dealing with this phenomenon several imminent questions unfold. The more deeply we defined it, the more often we create an unsatisfactory definition – which causes another urge to specify and re-define. So: What does intercultural competence mean, truly? When we think of its cognitive components, requirements or elements can we consider them as well-defined and explained categories, which can be easily translated/implemented into university teaching? Despite the respectable amount of scholarly work, this remains a desiderate.
My research focus is intercultural competence in the context of higher education and study abroad. I consider the scholarly investigations in this topic not just a mere interest but a serious responsibility of the intercultural educator. The current focus of my explorations are the cognitive coping strategies during an intercultural encounter and the meaning affects which play the igniting role behind them. The scope of my studies move from the micro-dimension of intercultural competence toward a macro-level of intercultural competence and explore the relationship between ICC and the idea(l) of global competence. My students in the Certificate Program at LMU and in the Junior Year of Munich Program give me a constant motivation to explore and raise further questions.

Key words of my current enquiry about ICC:
anxiety, emotions/affects, coping mechanism, cognitive psychology, empathy and compassion, teaching strategies of intercultural competence.

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