Global citizen: how your education can help you become one today
By Brian Storey, Director of Global Engagement and International Student Services
Global citizenship is considered an essential educational outcome by the United Nations and the Organizations of Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD). If we (in the planetary sense of the word) are going to achieve progress on our pressing human rights and environmental issues — namely, global warming, poverty, lack of clean water, sanitation and reliable food sources, and the lack of peace, justice and stable institutions across the world — it begins with us educating ourselves on what it means to be a global citizen.
What is a global citizen?
The OECD Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) identifies four areas they consider essential to global competence that people need to apply successfully in their everyday lives to be a global citizen:
- The capacity to examine issues and situations of local, global and cultural significance (e.g. poverty, economic interdependence, migration, inequality, environmental risks, conflicts, cultural differences and stereotypes);
- The capacity to understand and appreciate different perspectives and world views;
- The ability to establish positive interactions with people of different national, ethnic, religious, social or cultural backgrounds or gender; and
- The capacity and disposition to take constructive action toward sustainable development and collective well-being. (OECD, 2018)
Leverage your Douglas College education to become a global citizen
1. Take action by … taking action!
Act! Take advantage of the many opportunities Douglas College offers to interact with people from all over the world by: studying on exchange, going on a field school, joining a Douglas Students’ Union (DSU) club that is cause focused or culture focused, or taking part in Global Engagement Days. Thinking alone will not solve our global issues. Acting locally and for sustainability is what is needed! Start building your cred as a global citizen at Global Engagement Days, Oct. 1-3.
2. Embrace critical thinking by learning thinking models
Different courses offer different thinking models. For example, your courses may expose you to the scientific method, ethical thinking models, critical thinking models, and world-view theoretical frameworks, such as feminism. Try to learn them and understand how they frame problems. Learning thinking models enables you to examine issues from multiple perspectives.
3. Develop your emotional intelligence by going beyond your comfort zone
Emotional intelligence involves recognizing and managing your own emotions, while also managing relationships. Embrace opportunities to do this across cultures and with different peer groups in your classes. We are an intercultural community. By pushing yourself to work at the edge of your comfort zone and reflecting on what you learn, you are inadvertently learning to master your emotions and work with others doing the same. Are you sticking to your ethnically similar peers, or pushing yourself to connect across cultures?