The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) is a scalable, flexible, global, easy-to-use, and research-based too that includes:

  • Online modules with videos subtitled in multiple languages
  • Online forum space for reflecting with peers from around the world
  • Quizzes and assignments to ensure learners understand the materials
  • A comprehensive training program for GCC Qualified Facilitators
  • Guided reflection sessions run by a Qualified Facilitator
  • Global Competence Certificate upon completion

What the Global Competence Certificate is all about

The content is designed to meet key educational goals that help learners develop intercultural competence and deal with cultural adjustment.


You turn inward in order to reflect on your own personal and cultural experience as citizens in local and global contexts. All of us need to be able to reflect on the nature of our own ways of making meaning of things. Are you born with it? Does it come from your individual or cultural experience? What does it say about yourself and your comparison to others?


Awareness about others

Then, there’s you as the other. It is important to recognize and understand patterns of behavior and values of people from different cultural contexts. We can be looking at the same landscape and paint it in totally different ways. Minimizing the importance of this difference makes it difficult to accept it as it is.


Emotional Intelligence

As you become more mindful about how you respond to the differences and commonalities of others, you practice suspending judgment and being flexible in new and different cultural contexts. For your own self, it is also important to turn inward and find a peaceful place, to be aware of personal limits and be open to seeking support.


Bridges across difference

After you find a way to be more accepting of the differences, you can initiate and develop relationships with culturally different others. You can shift your perspective, attune your emotions and adapt your behavior in order to communicate and interact effectively and appropriately with different cultural contexts.

“Thanks to the GCC program, I grew stronger (and am still growing!) in my ability to form and maintain intercultural relationships.”

–Study Abroad Engineering Student from University of St Thomas

Global Competence Certificate at Home


In the GCC at Home, learners are given the opportunity to collaborate effectively across difference through the online program that requires no travel. The GCC at Home brings into learners’ awareness that culture is all around us within our own communities.

Faculty members find the GCC guided curriculum, discussion topics and forums, interactive modules, and deep self-reflection a winning combination to develop the students’ intercultural learning. It allows the faculty to stay focused on their content area while also leveraging the opportunity for developing students’ intercultural competence.

“The GCC helps new attorneys discuss their values and perspectives and the values that are already inculcated coming into this profession and how people can perpetuate perceptions of the past. This program addresses implicit bias that influences the way we are. It raises awareness. Moreover, it gave an opportunity for students to discuss their responsibilities as they enter the profession without having to strip themselves of their identity or moral compass.”

–Professor Carl Warren J.D.
University of St Thomas Law School

Find out more about GCC at home

Global Competence Certificate Study Abroad


GCC Study Abroad develops learners’ global competence before, during and after their international experience. The curriculum is delivered in 18 online modules supported by a Qualified Facilitator we train from your campus. The program can be customized to meet the needs of specific higher education institutions and study abroad programs.

The research-backed AFS Global Competence Certificate has been used by more than 10,000 university, intern and language abroad students in 50 countries to help them develop their intercultural competence and global skills before, during and after their international programs.

“My group who went abroad had impressive quantitative and qualitative results in terms of intercultural development. Both the IDI and the qualitative data showed that the group had a shift from a predominantly monocultural mindset to a more intercultural (global) mindset. Given these results and considering learners’ feedback about the program, I highly recommend the GCC.”

–H. E. Parker, Ph.D.
Assistant Director, Latin America/Spain Programs,
Global Engineering Programs and Partnerships.

Find out more about GCC Study Abroad

Special COVID-19 Edition


The practical, youth-friendly online tool, a special edition of the AFS Global Competence Certificate (GCC), provides students whose study abroad has been disrupted by COVID-19—whether they have returned to their home countries early or remain in their host community—with a moderated educational platform to process their experiences, come together as a global community of young people and continue their intercultural learning journeys.

The program includes content on coping during crisis, navigating ambiguity, developing resilience, being flexible, and connecting across differences. This core curriculum helps students become active global citizens.

“I developed my adaptability, communication skills and valuing difference during my exchange year. And I’ll continue to develop my open-mindedness, empathy and critical thinking during the course. I will meet many old friends and new people coming from different places and backgrounds, so we can share our experiences and learn a lot from this course.”

–AFS exchange student whose program was interrupted by COVID-19

Find out more about the Special Edition

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