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Module: AIC
Syllabus Content
Diary & Portfolio 
Introduction to Cultural Identity
Stereotypes & Intercultural Incidents
Sociolinguistic Awareness & Competence
Expectations, motivation, objectives


Module: Acquiring Intercultural Competence


Syllabus Content Area 5


2 sessions, 4 hours

Expectations, motivation, objectives.

This area consists of 2 topics:

Topic One

Expectations, motivation, objectives in preparation for the YA


Aims and objectives:

  • to enable students to clarify their objectives for personal and professional development

  • to identify the opportunities offered by a PRA

  • to enable students to recognise personal skills affecting their ability to adapt to living and working abroad

  • to develop strategies for operating competently in another country

  • to increase the potential for acquiring personal transferable organisational skills and enhance their employability


Learning activities:

Guided discussion about motivation and competences:

  • which factors came into play when you opted for your course of study? areas of competence, family, financial situation, geographic situation, general motivation, grades, age, professional and other personal opportunities and constraints

  • how do competences which have been developed and the knowledge which has been acquired determine your choice of career path?

  • what other competences need to be developed?

  • how will you use the support and guidance offered by the university’s Careers service?


Write out what you expected your university education to do for you:

  • what has been achieved so far? 

  • what are you still expecting to gain?

Write out a list of personal and professional objectives

Make a list of the reasons for going abroad (mandatory or optional part of the course?); discuss and compare

Make a list of available support structures for the PPA (literature, videos, web, your university’s PPA workshops and general support and guidance); discuss your personal use of these facilities
(suggested as preparation activity in students' own time)

Search ICP databases for elements of expectations, motivation and objectives
(suggested as preparation activity in students' own time)

  • are they much in evidence? did expectations generally relate to the self or to others? were expectations generally met?

  • do any patterns emerge which link expectations and motivation or the lack of them to disappointment with the host culture?

  • are there instances of unsuccessful placements? is it clear whether lack of success was linked to low / high expectations or extraneous factors?


Discuss differences in preparation between

  • study placements

  • work placements

  • assistantships

  • combined study and work placements

Search ICP databases for accounts of preparation and setting of objectives for PRA; are there any examples of preparation which you would not follow?
Visit PRA websites (LARA and RAPPORT).  Look for answers to questions relating to practical issues which are of particular relevance to you.  Discuss your findings and the extent to which they match your expectations.
(suggested as preparation activities in students' own time)

Discuss steps taken to secure placements:

  • availability of placements

  • tutor role, appointments

  • personal input

  • how important was a CV?

  • how important was personal contact (if applicable)?

  • how relevant is your professional experience?


  • how clearly defined is your role during your placement abroad? is additional clarification needed? how will this be achieved?

  • are there any requirements which mark a very clear distinction between your prospective placement and your present situation? define these

  • what do others expect from you? employer etc.

This contains some elements from the Leeds workshops. Alternatively, the Leeds workshops may be used in their entirety.


Topic 2 (Careers workshop following the YA)

Expectations, motivation, objectives after the year abroad

Aims and Objectives:

  • to reflect on the process of intercultural learning inherent to the nature of their placements

  • to audit personal and professional skills acquired during the PRA

  • to reflect on the ability to adapt to living and working abroad and the implications for future employment

  • to develop strategies for further developing the potential for intercultural professional skills and enhance their employability


Learning Activities:

Activities led by module tutor:


Guided discussion about personal development and employability:

  • what have you gained from the year abroad in terms of general personal development?

  • how does it make you more employable in general terms?

  • what intercultural insights did you gain from your placement?

  • what intercultural skills do you think you developed there?

  • how do they impact on your employability?

  • compare the opportunities for intercultural learning with those offered in other kinds of placement

Write a CV and a letter of application for a job in the country of your PRA (imagine writing to the same employer(s) as you did before the YA)

  • reflect on the differences : your attitude, motivation, confidence, linguistic competence, experience, increased intercultural competence)

Guided discussions, led by careers tutor:

Employability skills from Year Abroad

  • what are employability skills?

  • in what ways are employability skills developed abroad different or similar to those developed "at home"?

  • why are employability skills critical? (changing nature of careers and career paths)


What do employers want from graduates?

  • language and intercultural skills; demands and expectations of employers in UK and abroad


How do students create employability skills?

  • raising awareness of own skills, strengths, weaknesses

  • action planning and developing opportunities to develop weak skills

  • keeping logs and records of progress


Audit of own employability skills, defining one’s skills

  • where are you now and where do you want to be?

  • identifying and logging career-related skills (based on Hawkin’s self-reliance audit)


Translating employability skills into real life applications

  • where to find opportunities for skills development: paid, unpaid work


Being selective about one’s skills

  • identifying realistic and attainable career goals

  • action planning for future development