Normandale Community College takes great pride in its ability to respond to the needs of the community and its industry partners. One of the concerns that Normandale has recently heard from industry is a need for employees who know more than one language, and can demonstrate that they have a global perspective and awareness.
Normandale has responded with a ﬂexible International Experience Certiﬁcate. The certiﬁcate adds an important skill set to pair with a degree and can also be a great option on its own to help individuals to succeed professionally.
"This certiﬁcate ﬁts along with any area of study," says World Languages instructor Heidi Kreutzer. "Learning the language is important, but being able to understand cultural norms when it comes to various circumstances is also a big part of this certiﬁcate. Whether you are an educator, police ofﬁcer, a nurse, a business person, or any number of areas these are important and desired skills to have."
The International Experience Certiﬁcate requires a 5-credit World Language course, a 3-credit Culture and Civilization course, a 3-credit World Languages and Cultures Department Study Abroad course and an Intercultural Communications course (COMM 1131).
"We wanted to develop a certiﬁcate that would get students on the path of learning a new language and demonstrating intercultural competence to prepare them for a workplace environment," said World Languages instructor Jen Bouchard. "Our hope is that students will take one 5-credit course and ﬁnish up the sequence to pair it up with other useful certiﬁcates or degrees."
Normandale has combined several program strengths to create this certiﬁcate. The World Languages Department has more language offerings than any two-year college in the state. Language and cultural civilization courses are offered in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Somali (starting in fall 2019). Through a recent grant with the U.S. Department of Education, Normandale has offered Study Abroad trips to Diaspora communities that include Peru and Senegal. There is also a study abroad trip to Miami to learn about Cuban and Haitian communities. Along with these opportunities, the grant has helped Normandale establish an on-campus International Experience Center.
"There are enough opportunities within courses to help students tailor this certiﬁcate to their career interests," said Bouchard. "We are not experts on every experience a student might want out of this certiﬁcate, but we are able to connect them to subject matter experts in those countries or areas. We are trying to build on those opportunities because we want this to be something that catapults them into the next stage of their life, whether it is professional or further study."