How cultural understanding and global competency play a central role in the modern world

Every day the world is becoming more and more interconnected. Since 1 in 5 jobs in the United States is now tied to international trade, if you’re currently a student it’s likely that your future will be impacted by increased global exchange. This might surprise you, but let’s take a look at something as simple as the common hoodie or sweatshirt. This ordinary sweatshirt is the result of the coming together of various products and special skills from 5 different countries and cultures.

Where does a hoodie come from?

Or, imagine popular technology like the Apple iPhone. It took the cooperation of 43 different countries around the world to put together a single device that you can fit in the palm of your hand.

That means Apple had to have an in-depth cultural understanding to make the iPhone 6 come to life. For example, the company would have to take into account different religious holiday celebrations, which would affect employees’ productivity and time off.

Where does the iPhone come from?

Global competency (or, “the capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance”) matters in the real world. That’s why it’s important for young people to gain the skills to navigate the increasingly interconnected 21st century, even at home in the U.S.

Developing cultural understanding is not only a compelling reason for students to venture out into the world, but it’s also an essential component of preparing for a globally relevant future.

***Next: Test your own global knowledge by taking our intercultural QUIZ!

Or, join AFS-USA in creating peace through understanding by studying abroadhosting an exchange student, or volunteering in your community.