Intercultural competence is the ability to work and respond in a way that acknowledges and respects individuals’ culturally-based beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, and customs. Your own identity, values, and beliefs are an important place to start. Conversations around culture and identity can sometimes feel risky, but knowing that many of your peers feel the same way may help you feel more at ease to learn what skills and interactions will help you develop knowledge.
Social justice begins with each person understanding their own identity. This can happen in many forms, through reflection, retreats, cultural events, or meeting other students in a culturally-focused club. It may also help to talk with others who can help you expand your perspectives. Examine your own biases and ask questions, seek answers, and investigate assumptions in order to gain real awareness. Multicultural competence is an ongoing learning process. You'll make mistakes, come to a new understanding, and probably hurt some feelings (even your own). But that's all part of the skill-building experience. Engaging those around you will be the best way to move forward if you feel ready to challenge your comfort zone.
According to the National Survey of Student Engagement (2015), Seattle University students felt that they were challenge to explore and learn more about their peers from different socioeconomic statuses, race/ethnicities, political views, religions, and nationalities.