Should You Take CIEE’s Intercultural Communication and Leadership Course?

Programs for this blog post

Arts + Sciences

Authored By:

Kate S.

Are you wondering whether or not you should sign up for Intercultural Communication and Leadership with CIEE? Here, I share details about the course and my experience taking it. 

Intercultural Communication and Leadership (ICL) is the only CIEE-led course offered on my program, CIEE Arts + Sciences in Seoul.  

When I first looked at the course, I decided it probably wasn’t for me, as it didn’t really connect to either of my majors, and I wanted to use all of the semester’s credit hours taking Yonsei courses. 

But, a friend of mine from my home university took ICL when she studied abroad with CIEE in Prague the year before. When she returned, she talked about how ICL helped her get the most out of her experience abroad, and she really encouraged me to take it. 

With that, I decided to opt in to taking the course, and here’s how it went. 

ICL is designed to help you better understand yourself, your home culture, and your host culture. 

The course material covers topics ranging from identity and values to culture shock and personal leadership in intercultural contexts. 

Throughout the course, you complete reflective journals and cultural engagement activities, and the final project is a creative digital storytelling project in which you discuss the significance of your study abroad experience. 

Below, I have listed four of the biggest takeaways of the course.  

It’s personal.

ICL is tailored to you. This means that the purpose of every reading and assignment is to help you reflect on yourself and your experience here. 

It encourages you to meet and connect with others.

As a part of ICL, each student is asked to find a cultural partner, someone who is a long-time resident of the host culture. 

Having a cultural partner gave me the opportunity to have some really meaningful conversations that I never would have had otherwise and to connect with someone in my host culture. 

Also, a good portion of your in-class time is dedicated to group work and discussion, so it’s a great opportunity to meet new people and make friends. 

It helps you manage culture shock.  

About halfway through the semester, there’s an entire class dedicated solely to discussing culture shock and intercultural adjustment. 

The reading and in-class work for this day of class helped me to better understand what culture shock is and how I was experiencing it, and it provided me with specific steps to take to manage it better. 

This day of class was a game-changer for me, as it helped me to dig myself out of the deepest low I experienced during my time here.    

It ends earlier than Yonsei courses.  

If none of the previous reasons are enough to convince you to opt in, here’s one more. The course ends early! Our last day of class was May 30, whereas Yonsei’s classes and exams extend all the way to June 21. 

Finishing up ICL almost a month early has helped free up my schedule to fit in all the last-minute things I want to do before I leave, and it’s helped me focus on the projects, papers, and final exams I have for my Yonsei courses.   

So, should you take CIEE’s ICL course? My answer is absolutely yes!