TICFIE Main Principles

The Siena Center promotes the development of Intercultural Competence and Exchange for individuals acting in today's international context. These skills are essential for the engaged citizen to negotiate the significant challenges present in the increasingly interculturally linked world.

Aware of the importance of preserving distinct languages and cultures in the context of increasing globalization, the Siena Center is tirelessly dedicated to enhancing strategies through Full-Immersion and Service-Learning for the development of Reflective Intercultural Competence in our students. The Siena Center's instructional approach is called FICCS (Full-Immersion: Culture, Content and Service) and is utilized in all undergraduate and graduate programs and courses offered at the Siena Center. Service-Learning promotes a broader, more profound understanding of a local community through participating in local organizations and assisting in meeting the needs of local citizens. Crucial to service-learning is reflective writing, the core activity in Reflective Intercultural Competence, which allows learning to take place while helping to resolve stress and tensions created by the sometimes difficult encounters with the foreign culture. Through reflective education, students are able better to process their experience in the foreign culture, recognizing and analyzing differences and similarities with their home culture, and allowing students to be more civically engaged while abroad and at home.

The Siena Center is also committed to research and advocacy in the fields of pedagogy, linguistics and international education. This includes the publication of texts and scholarly journal articles, as well as the organization of seminars and meetings such as the International Horizons Conference series. The first conference was held in Siena on May 7-8, 2011. Intercultural Horizons 2015, "Identities, Relationships and Languages in Migration" will be held on September 25-27, 2015 in Cagliari, Italy, in conjunction with Sardinia Italian Studies.