We seek a distinctively Christian approach to building cross-cultural competency, grounding it in an ethic of redemptive encounter which reflects the humility, servanthood, and empathy of Jesus Christ. Our desire is not to educate “well-traveled” Christians, but those who can change position and perspective to effectively and truly serve others.
Why Global and Experiential Learning at Wheaton College?
We belong to a global church and want to better reflect the Kingdom of God. We want our students to experience and recognize God's presence and work in the world in new ways through academic engagement in globally-connected communities - to change perspective and not simply location, to gain understanding and not simply to collect experiences. We want to hear and understand the voices of Christians in the church worldwide, as well as speak with our own distinctive voices. We want to equip our students to work faithfully and fruitfully in the world.
What is a Global Perspective?
We understand global to be simultaneously "over there" and "right here": it is more broadly cross-cultural than narrowly international. A global perspective sees where the global and local intersect, interpenetrate and transform each other and where the local remains distinct from the “global.” We are equally committed to preparing our students and community to engage and understand the multi-cultural diversity within their own contexts, whether the product of deep historical presence and contribution or contemporary human migration.
- Understand the nature of the global church as a redeemed people united under the Lordship of Christ
- Respect, embrace, and participate in a variety of global and cross-cultural experiences both inside and outside of the church
- Experience meaningful, sustained engagement with members of other cultures and faiths
- Are challenged by and transformed in Jesus Christ by the perspectives of other cultures
- Share the Gospel sensitively and graciously in word and deed through incarnational witness
- Participate in joyful celebration of the diversity of cultures
How do we Cultivate World Christians?
Grasping an unfamiliar cultural perspective or way of life requires knowledge and skill that most of us do not acquire as we grow up in and are educated within our own cultures; neither do we necessarily absorb and understand merely because we enter another’s cultural context. Combined with interdisciplinary knowledge, such perspective-shifting requires intercultural competency, which is developed through a combination of academic study, intentional reflection, and sustained and meaningful engagement with members of other cultures. Without the knowledge and skill to cross cultural boundaries, we are limited in our abilities to be world citizens or global Christians.
Intercultural Competency is the ability to:
- Recognize the profound role of culture in human experience
- Articulate one’s cultural identity
- Communicate effectively cross-culturally
- Learn without reliance upon pre-judgments or stereotypes
- Adapt to unfamiliar contexts, and then re-enter and reintegrate into the home environment
- Build relationships of mutual respect