Essentials: Quick guide for Global Citizenship

La Trobe Definition

During their degrees all La Trobe University students will reflect on the opportunities and obligations of their citizenship in a globalizing world. This entails:

  • recognizing the broader global context in which their studies exist;
  • understanding the diversity of values and perspectives across the globe;
  • developing personal and technical skills to interact effectively with a diverse range of people in a world of complex interdependence;
  • actively engaging with a wide range of communities and institutions to meet the demands of global challenges and obligations.

The Global Citizenship Essential is strongly supported by the development of cultural literacy as a graduate capability at La Trobe. Acquiring cultural literacy entails engagement with Indigenous values and knowledge, by all students

Definition for students

Global citizenship is…

  • "having an open mind while actively seeking to understand cultural norms and expectations of others, leveraging this gained knowledge to interact, communicate and work effectively outside one's environment" - Hunter, White & Godbey (2006) " What does it mean to be Globally Competent". Journal of Studies in International Education Vol. 10, Issue 3.
  • "knowledge and skills, showing cross-cultural awareness, and valuing human diversity. The ability to work effectively, and responsibly, in a global context" (p. 3) Oxford Brookes HEA "Teaching Global Citizenship: A case study in applied linguistics"

The Essence of Global Citizenship

Global Citizenship is based around two key ideas — Global Contexts and Skills For Diversity.

Global Context

GC aims to ensure that students understand the wider, global perspectives of their discipline/topic. This means understanding the complexity of interactions that link our personal lives and work with the wider world.

For example, when you buy coffee at the local market, it has come from somewhere, and that somewhere means there are likely to be global links and implications.

Our world is becoming increasingly globalized and more complex, and students need knowledge, perspectives and skills to deal with this complexity. In the future, every profession will be affected by, and have influence on, transnational and global relationships, issues and opportunities. So it is important that students have some exposure to the wider contexts of their study, and how to think about and respond to these.

Skills and Perspectives For Diversity

It is not enough just to understand the wider, global dimensions of their studies. Students also need to develop the perspectives and skills to be able to work and live effectively in a world of cultural diversity.

Part of this involves understanding that not everyone else sees the world in the way they do. Different cultural backgrounds and different personal and social histories result in widely differing ways that people look at, experience, and respond to the world around them.

Understanding this diversity of values and perspectives is necessary to be able to work and live in a global world. And beyond this, students need the opportunity to personally experience this diversity, and to practice how they should respond to, and work with, others with widely different backgrounds and life experiences to their own.

There should also be opportunities for them to have a first experience in working within their discipline to be productive in such diverse circumstances.

Need to Include All Dimension of Global Citizenship Together

The definition of GC requires that all elements of global citizenship be considered together.

Students need to gain an understanding of the global context of their subject, and at the same time come to understand that people from other diverse backgrounds see the world in ways different to their own.

Students also need to gain some personal, practical skills in how to positively respond to this diversity, and an opportunity to practicing how this might affect their future professional responses in their primary discipline area of study.

Some Ways to Get Started with GC

Think about the current wider, transnational or global issues and opportunities that are currently arising in, or in relation to, your discipline/profession. In doing this, you will need to think beyond the immediate short-term focus of the discipline, and consider how aspects of the discipline/profession are being influenced and changed by wider changes beyond the local or Australian perspective.

You should also think about how your students are going to get personal experience of a diversity of world views beyond their own. Many staff are tackling this requirement of GC by using the diversity of students in their subjects, by organizing students into multi-diversity teams, around groups projects, where these are part of their subject.

It is not enough for students to experience this diversity; they also need to reflect on their experience of this diversity, and come up with ways of working productively in such settings, and to ensure that their reflections on their experiences, and their productive response to this are being built into the subject assessment.

In some subjects, students will be able to get global perspectives on, and/or direct experience of, working in diverse groups by undertaking projects with outside organizations (businesses, NGOs, professional associations) in which these are an ongoing part of the work of these organizations.

Some students gain world perspectives and cultural perspectives and skills by carrying out their studies in overseas locations — again, for this to meet the GC requirements, students will need to reflect on these experiences, perspectives and skills as part of their formal assessment requirements for the subject.

GC Needs to be Covered Overtly

Global Citizenship needs to be an overt part of the subject, but preferably in ways that integrate or link with some issue or activity that is located in the discipline (see examples above, and in the Resources for Global Citizenship — see below).

Remember that GC does not need to be in every part of the subject, but it needs to be sufficiently present to meet the requirements of the Essential - see Description above, and "What Formal Requirements Need to Be Met?" in the Essentials - Getting Started resource.

GC will inevitably mean looking at the complexity of issues that relate to the discipline, including issues for which there are currently no clear answers or even agreed directions. To some extent this places the staff member in a collaborative relationship with their students - looking together at the complexity and uncertainty of globalization and increased connection between diverse cultures, as this relates to the discipline/topic that is being explored, rather than the staff member being a source of pre-digested ideas or information. GC encourages active, exploratory learning in students, and is amenable to team processes and projects.

How GC is Helpful to Students

The La Trobe explanation for students for Global Citizenship is as follows:

"Our globe is now more interconnected than ever. Important decisions made in the boardrooms, government departments or a family deciding to step foot on a leaky boat in search of a better life can affect us and our society in profound ways. Even seemingly small acts, including what we buy at the checkout, or which party we vote for, can have huge implications for what happens in far distant places. The media we use, whether it's the latest YouTube clip that's gone viral, a new blockbuster computer game or Facebook status updates, draw us into a web of endless global interconnections, unprecedented in human history.

At La Trobe, we're committed to creating opportunities for you to learn about the civic, social and economic responsibilities that come with being a global citizen.

For students studying at La Trobe, this involves:

  • highlighting how their studies fit into the larger global picture
  • presenting them with the diversity of values and viewpoints on a range of issues around the globe
  • providing them with experiences to develop skills to effectively work and communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds; and
  • showing them how to propel their career and maximize their contribution in a globalized society.

Global Citizenship Resources

  • The global citizenship website – a project that provides excellent examples and resources related to Global Citizenship Projects.  To use this fully you and your students will need to create an account.
  • University of Groningen RUG has reports of three pilot projects on Internationalization of Curriculum at Groningen University:
    • International Bachelor's in Medicine Groningen (IBMG), Faculty of Medical Sciences
    • Master Environmental and Infrastructure Planning, Faculty of Spatial Sciences
    • Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • The Internationalization of the Curriculum (IoC) in Action website began as an outcome of Prof. Betty Leask's Australian Government-funded National Teaching Fellowship in 2010-11. The fellowship focused on the active engagement of academic staff across different disciplines and institutions with internationalization of the curriculum. There are a range of frameworks, resource and links that include: Concepts and Definitions; Conceptual Frameworks; Process; Case Studies and Resources. One link on the IOC website is to:
    • Promising Practices for inclusive teaching and learning
      'Promising practices' are teaching practices that enable all students to become active confident learners. The literature on this topic stresses that there is no single set of practices that will be effective with every student. This resource describes six principles and associated practices.


  • Globalizing the Curriculum: How to incorporate a global perspective into your courses – by Frank Louis Rusciano.  Association of American Colleges and Universities. Frank Louis Rusciano is professor of political science and director of the Global Studies Program at Rider University USA. 
This article provides some excellent advice regardless of whether your subject is in the humanities or in the hard sciences.
  • Rhoads, R., Szelenyi, K. (2011) "Global Citizenship and the University: Advancing social life and relations in an interdependent world", Standford University Press, Palo Alto
    • Summary: "With the increasing integration of global economies and societies, the nation-state is no longer the sole force shaping and defining citizenship. New ideas of "global citizenship" are emerging, and universities, which are increasingly involved in international engagements, provide a unique opportunity to explore how fundamental understandings of modern citizenship are changing…" A nice summary of what Rhoads and Szelenyi refer to at the Conceptualizations of global citizenship
  • Jones, E. (2013) "Internationalization and employability: the role of interacultural experiences in the development of transferable skills" Persistent Link: Public Money and Management p. 95-104.
    • Abstract: "This article identifies the alignment of transferable skills developed through international experience with those sought by graduate employers and argues the value of domestic intercultural contexts for similar learning. It is essential reading for world-wide universities, policy-makers and academics, offering key pointers for policy and practice"

Useful Links for broadening curriculum

  • Human Rights in Australia – provides some useful links to a range of global and local topics that might prove to be useful resources.