Undergraduate Studies

Cross-Cultural Awareness (CCA) Policy

Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the intellectual and ethical development of students, and the general well-being of society. Undergraduate students must be broadly educated and technically skilled to be informed and productive citizens. As citizens, they need to be able to think critically about significant issues. Students also need to be prepared to complete undergraduate work and a major course of study. The mission of General Education requires a high level of knowledge about and competence in the areas of arts and humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, cross-cultural awareness, science and technology in society, communication, critical thinking, and ethical judgment.

One of the general education requirements for Clemson undergraduates is Cross-Cultural Awareness (CCA). The CCA requirement may be met in one of two ways: 1) successful completion of a specific Clemson University course from the list of approved CCA courses; or 2) through a University approved cross-cultural experience. The latter method for meeting the CCA requirement includes participation in an international experience. This policy explains how students may satisfy the general education CCA requirement through an international experience. In some instances, individual departments or majors may have additional requirements related to cross cultural experiences and/or courses or credit hours, and it is the student’s responsibility to satisfy those requirements based on their individual curriculum.

An international experience will fulfill the CCA requirement if it satisfies either I.(a) or I.(b) below, and the student submits a satisfactory report as required in (II).

I. The international experience is either a:

(a) study abroad, internship, research, or service-learning program, or some combination of these of at least 3 months duration; or

(b) other type of international program of shorter duration (e.g., summer programs) which incorporates specific features (e.g., home-stays in a foreign language environment, a structured activity addressing intercultural issues, etc.) designed to intensify the cross-cultural experience. Shorter programs must be a minimum of four weeks in duration.

II. To fulfill the CCA requirement based on an international experience, the student must be enrolled in the IS 101 course and must submit a report following the experience that addresses the impact of the international experience on cross-cultural awareness. See guidelines for reports below.

Approval Process

Students who seek to satisfy the Cross-Cultural Awareness requirement by virtue of participation in an international experience will submit their reports to the Office of Global Engagement (OGE) for review and approval with a copy to the student’s advisor. To enable satisfaction of the CCA requirement through an international experience to be noted on the student transcript, students should be enrolled in IS 101 prior to departure. IS 101 is a zero credit course. If a student’s report is approved, then the student will receive a grade of "P" (passing) in IS 101.

IS 101 Report Guidelines

One of the most effective forms of developing cross-cultural awareness is an appropriate international experience involving significant immersion in a different society (e.g., non-English language environment, or other marked difference of cultural environment from the predominant U.S. cultural environment). Students who wish to satisfy the general education CCA requirement through participation in an international experience are required to submit a written report (5-10 pages double spaced) to the Office of International Affairs with a copy to the student’s advisor. Students are also encouraged to supplement the written narrative with multimedia files in a digital portfolio format. If the report is approved, then students will be awarded a grade of "P" (passing) in the course IS 101. IS 101 is a zero credit course.

Reports submitted for the CCA requirement should address the following:

  1. Provide a complete description of the type of experience in which the student participated—purpose, location, length, language learning, housing, interaction with community members, etc.
  2. Explain how the experience broadened the student’s understanding of other cultures.
  3. Discuss how the experience affected the student’s personal awareness and understanding of his/her own heritage, cultural or ethnic identity, and values.
  4. Compare and contrast the student’s values with other views/values/perspectives that the student encountered during the international experience.
  5. Discuss how this experience has influenced the students thinking about "culture" and how culture affects behavior.