Seek Intercultural Understanding

Becoming a Leader for a Just & Humane World

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.


  • Explore who you are in your own social identities (Examples: Gender, race, socio-economic class)
  • Experience events, programs, relationships that expand your perspectives
  • Commit to the pursuit of inclusion and social justice
  • Develop skills to be effective in addressing bias, micro-aggressions, and other social justice work
  • Examine your cultural humility through connections in community and exposure to multiple perspectives

Exploring Identity & Inclusion

How Does Your Own Identity Influence You?

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.

Venturing Out

  • Read a non-fiction book centered on identities different that your own. The Common Text is a great example.
  • Attend a campus event like #MoralMondays
  • Choose a service-learning placement or project that helps expand your thinking
  • Attend the annual Mission Day
of graduates gain a better understanding of others' backgrounds

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.

In what ways do your own cultural identities influence how you interact with others? Are there ways you can take time to learn about the identities of your peers?

Questions to Reflect On