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IC Personal Competency 1: Spirit of Adventure

There are a number of personal qualities that facilitate intercultural work. One particularly important quality is a spirit of adventure that relishes exploring all things new and different (ranging from trying new foods, engaging in unfamiliar customs and celebrations to immersing oneself into a different cultural environment). Instead of feeling intimidated or threatened by difference, it is helpful for people to feel excited and stimulated by the prospect of working in intercultural partnerships.
 
Ideally, one should be able to embrace the opportunity to challenge oneself and to learn with enthusiasm about another cultural ‘world’. This does not in any way mean that one has to approve of all practices of another culture or agree with all of their customs, but it entails the willingness to approach another culture’s practices with an open mind and a positive outlook. Such a disposition/approach to intercultural work will enable the person to grow and learn from collaborative work. When they face setbacks, they are then more likely to recover from them quickly instead of feeling defeated.
 
 Case Study Example: Excitement about visiting China
 
Several of the project members had never been to China before and they were excited about the opportunity. As the following quotation indicates, they displayed a spirit of adventure:
 Brit 16:
 
I never imagined in my life that I would be in China. It was simply amazing. At the beginning of the project, when [project director] talked to me about this in April, there was all the negotiations, there was the SARS crisis, there were many many different aspects, and I never thought I’d receive a phone call saying you’re going to China in September. Naturally that was something that was an additional motivation for me. […] Here was a possibility to realise some personal goals, and to show for myself this is what I’ve learned, and, as a dedicated classroom teacher of 30 years, OK this is what I’ve learned for myself so how then can I convey this to others? And that was a personal motivation for me.
 
 cift_arrow.gif Tip: Before getting involved in an international project, reflect on your feelings: are you excited by the prospect or fearful and/or worried about it?