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The transformative power of intercultural experiences

Spring 2013 | Archives

In Oaxaca, Mexico, Trey Jones was anxious as he started his study abroad program. Mexican culture was foreign—not to mention the language barrier. But after one month, he felt changed. "I was so surprised with myself in terms of being able to adapt to an entirely different culture, at first with anxiety and then with ease by the last week of the trip," he said. "I have studied and researched the Hispanic culture, but nothing compares to the actual cultural experience."

Study abroad programs are just a few of the opportunities MCC offers to students and the public to experience other cultures. The International/Intercultural Education office coordinates educational programs and events across MCC locations to commemorate nationally recognized ethnic and cultural holidays such as Women’s History Month in March, the Cinco de Mayo Celebration each May and the Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow every September, among many others. Fostering such opportunities reflects the diverse cultures and groups within MCC's community and encourages that same community to step into experiences that are enriching and widening.

As globalization impacts nearly every business sector, intercultural education has become vitally important for success in the 21st century workforce. Intercultural experiences also equip students for employment within a diverse workforce and enhance professional and personal objectives. Students gain knowledge and skills needed for leadership and life in a diverse and interdependent world.


Cultural programs and events

Community-based cultural programs bring people together in many ways that express their ideas, traditions and values. MCC enriches its curriculum and daily lives through educational activities that explore, celebrate and spark dialogue on diverse topics.

Most programs are free and open to the public. For a full calendar of events, visit www.mccneb.edu/intercultural.


Diversity Matters Series

Recognizing the different learning styles and interests within the community, MCC launched the Diversity Matters Film and Lecture Series and Book Series in 2005 and 2008 as personal and professional development opportunities for MCC students, staff and community members. Each year, materials that highlight a variety of diversity topics are selected, and discussion is expected to arouse a variety of perspectives, thoughts and questions that could contribute to rich discussions and lead to greater understanding. Participation is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.mccneb.edu/intercultural.


Institute for Cultural Connections

ICC Metropolitan Community College Launched in 2010, the Institute for Cultural Connections taps into the community's wealth of cultural experiences to enhance students' education. "Our mission is simple. We want to connect MCC students with cultural experiences, at the College and in the greater community," said Mary Umberger, a faculty member involved in the ICC.

Those cultural connections might take the form of an on-campus cultural event, a visit to a church or museum or a lecture from a guest speaker. By gathering multiple resources in one location online, the ICC hopes to make more cultural events and encounters more accessible to classrooms, curriculum and students. Learn more at resource.mccneb.edu/icc.


Study abroad

Studying abroad affords students unparalleled opportunities to gain global experience in real-world contexts that enrich the learning experience. Study abroad programs have expanded at MCC since the first program began in the early 1990s. This year, MCC offers opportunities in Guatemala, Ghana, Thailand and China. Find out more at resource.mccneb.edu/cca.

Upcoming events 
                                     Women's History Month: Events throughout March
                                     International Fair: April 11
                                     Cinco de Mayo Celebration: May
                                     Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: Events throughout May
                                     Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Month: Events throughout June
                                     For more information, visit www.mccneb.edu/intercultural
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