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Navigate Difference Intentionally

Updated: Jan 12, 2020

Last week I was immersed in a two-day training on intercultural competency. During this training participants discussed and reflected on five key components of intercultural competency:

Last week I was immersed in a two-day training on intercultural competency. During this training, participants discussed and reflected on five key components of intercultural competence:

  1. Empathy

  2. Tolerance of Ambiguity

  3. Openness

  4. Self-Awareness

  5. Knowledge

As we reflected it was both collective and individual. For me, I learned a lot about my own intercultural competency. The most impactful parts of this training, for me, was hearing the authors of Tell Me Who You Are speak, watching Coming Out: A 50 Year History, and learning about the Intercultural Development Continuum.



Their presentation energized me and created at a new interest in me for using these ideas in whatever I may end up doing in the future. Although I haven't finished reading the book, I highly recommend it and also recommend listening to their TED Talks. The problem was this was only the second of multiple sessions and I thought I had learned so much already. ks and presentations, they share stories of people from around the U.S. and teach their readers and listeners how to have meaningful conversations about race. These conversations have allowed people to give first-hand accounts about what racism looks likes all over the U.S. Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi promote Racial Literacy and consider it a life skill. As they spoke they remind us to always "recognize that we can never understand others experience completely," remember that "more privilege equals more responsibilities" and "be sure to differentiate between race and culture." To conclude they gave three action steps to work on the life skill of Racial Literacy:

  1. Self-Education

  2. Approach others with genuine curiosity

  3. Step into action

-Grow your consciousness

-Critique the status quo

-Contribute your talents to the movement

Their presentation energized me and created a new interest in me for using these ideas in whatever I may end up doing in the future. Although I haven't finished reading the book, I highly recommend it and also recommend listening to their TED Talks. The problem was this was only the second of multiple sessions and I thought I had learned so much already.

On the second day I was deeply impacted and moved by a video about the history of the LGBQ communities in the U.S and the stories that were shared in the session by participants after the video. My heart ached as I left this session. These communities never deserved the hate that was and still is shown toward them. God loves and longs for all people. What leaders in the United Methodist Church are doing right now is so important as we fight for an inclusive church.


By the final session, I was so exhausted that I wasn't sure I would be able to pay attention. Although it was tough I still seem to soak in some new information. Most of all I learned some things I had never realized about myself through the Intercultural Development Continuum. Throughout my life, I have been at different points on this continuum and I am disappointed about how my progress has never always been towards an intercultural mindset since high school. What I am most disappointed in is that I forgot about some of the lessons and activities I participated in during High School that should have guided me as I went out into the world.


This is just at a glimpse into the two-day training at Virginia Theological Seminary. There is so much more learning and reflecting to do.

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