Global Learning at APU

Global Competence

We define global competence as a way of learning from and thinking about a world of astounding complexity, fragility, and diversity, enabling us to see ourselves in right relationship to God and all God’s creatures, human and other-than-human, and to behave in the world so as render it more just, sustainable, and compassionate.

A way of learning from the world: Interact effectively with people from different languages, classes, and cultural backgrounds; skillfully investigate the world beyond one’s immediate environment; live, work, and learn with people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds; examine how the world works through the lenses of history, politics, economics, sociology, culture, religion, and ecology; explore global-scale issues from different viewpoints; privilege the perspectives of those on the margins of power; and celebrate the moral wisdom embedded within alternative ways of life.

A way of thinking about the world: Recognize the ‘global justice connections’ between ourselves and others; become aware of the moral weight and consequence of those connections, which relates to how we eat and transport ourselves, what we purchase, and who we befriend or exclude; comprehend the international dimensions of one’s major field of study; process discipline-specific questions from different cultural perspectives; and critically consider what can be done about specific issues in light of one’s moral vision.

A way of seeing oneself in the world: Recognize all others, human and other-than-human, in covenant, interdependent relationship; affirm the intrinsic, versus the merely instrumental, worth of all that participates in being; exercise neighborly love as intercultural understanding, economic justice, and environmental equity; identify with the universalities of the human experience; navigate one’s own multiple cultural identities; recognize one’s habitual practices as the structural link between the privilege of the few and the hardship of the many; affirm that the world is loved by a force more powerful than any on earth, and that we are players in a story of hope.

A way of behaving in the world: Recognize the call to love and to serve the wellbeing of human and other-than-human parts of God’s creation; value and respect human diversity; communicate effectively across diverse cultures; develop and sustain intercultural friendships; participate in the social and political life of one's community; make responsible personal choices in consumption habits and technology dependence; take action to improve local conditions through voting, volunteering, advocacy, and activism.

Global Learning Objectives


Learners are willing to narrow the distance between themselves and others by taking on some of the conditions and constraints of temporal existences radically different from their own.

Local rootedness

Learners demonstrate a personal knowledge of a particular place: its history, geography, groups, faith traditions, languages, water and power sources, and native species.

Social solidarity

Learners form self-sustaining relationships with others across cultural, class, and religious differences through active dialogue and collaboration.

Cultural inquiry

Learners are able to observe accurately and objectively, to listen deeply, to uncover invisible realities of their host community, and to use relevant knowledge to overcome resistance and stimulate creativity on their path of development.

Intercultural experimentation

Learners are willing to try out new ways of thinking, acting, and interacting within different cultures, to kindle enthusiasm, and to generate the trust that will allow community members to really speak and reveal themselves.


Learners are able to describe themselves in terms of multiple, intersecting “micro-cultural” groups (gender, social class, race, immigration status, etc.), having more or less power and prestige within their home culture.

Emotional intelligence

Learners demonstrate growth in a range of affective qualities: enthusiasm, confidence, inquisitiveness, initiative, humility, empathy, care for others, justice, flexibility, and perseverance.

Perspective taking

Learners are able to constantly question and uncover the sources of their cultural assumptions, values, and ethical judgments, leading to the habit of seeing things through the eyes of others.

Language development

Learners demonstrate intermediate-level facility in at least one foreign language, with appropriate non-verbal communication and socio-cultural etiquette.

Global awareness

Learners articulate the interconnections (social, economic, political, and environmental) of the world community, along with the global conditions and systems that positively and negatively affect it.

Issue analysis

Learners are able to read back and forth from the local to the global, using various disciplines to analyze major global issues, including human rights violation, extreme poverty, species extinction, and political corruption.


Learners are able to document field experiences through clear, cogent, and well-organized oral and written reports that integrate conceptual and experiential knowledge.

Ethical reasoning

Learners are able to decipher their basic moral obligations towards others in the world in terms of time, talent, or treasure.

Perspective transformation

Learners demonstrate a shift of consciousness that expose personally held myths regarding superior race, chosen nation, progress, worth by wealth, omnipotent science, and redemptive violence, and allows them to imagine alternative ways of securing a sane, just, and sustainable future.

Cosmopolitan response

Learners turn field lessons into concrete changes in their “being in the world” through social relations, consumption habits, and vocational choices, as their fair share of responsibility for conditions that negatively affect the earth and its inhabitants.