The aim of the Russian educational policy until 2020 is to improve the quality and accessibility of professional education. To date, training of specialist of any type should be considered in accordance with the rapidly changing conditions of competition, including international. Readiness of specialists to work in such an environment requires fluency in their profession, continuing education and professional development, social and occupational mobility.
In the transition to multi-level training of professionals there is the need to talk about improving the quality and effectiveness of training. This is especially important for future bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international relations in the sphere due to the nature of their professional activities, including communication processes in interpersonal, social, political, economic, cultural and international spheres.
At present, the issue of formation of professional competence in students is seen as a priority in the university training. When training students of international affairs one of the main goals is to develop cross-cultural communicative competence, especially through foreign language, and often several foreign languages.
Need of it follows from the irreversible process which has begun in the mid XX century: transition of traditional, so-called «two-way» diplomacy («old» or «bilateral» diplomacy), to the «omni» («multilateral») diplomacy, when post-World War II international arena became too large and complex in terms of cooperation between the countries. It has become not only important development of the sphere of the international relations, but also led to the expansion of professional problems of diplomats, among which communication skills are the first ones.
The new diplomacy focuses on the ability of specialists in international affairs to speak publicly, using appropriate rhetorical techniques and possessing features of cross-cultural communication and the ability to skillfully negotiate. And if even half a century ago there was some preference of predominantly written communication in matters of international importance, now the preference is given to the need for personal contact, «face-to-face exchanges», that is, verbal communication .
Communicative competence usually is understood as ability to establish and maintain the necessary contacts with other people. The structure of competence includes a combination of knowledge, skills and abilities to ensure effective communication. This kind of competence involves the ability to vary the depth and range of communication partners in dialogue to understand and be understood by them. Communicative competence involves adaptability and freedom to own verbal and non-verbal means of communication and may be regarded as a category regulating the system of relations of person to himself or herself, the natural and social world. In the broadest sense competence of human communication can be defined as the competence in interpersonal perception, interpersonal communication and interpersonal interaction [2, р. 33].
Cross-cultural communicative competence is the ability to reach understanding with people of different cultures even with mediocre command of foreign languages on the basis of knowledge, understanding, and respect for universal rules and standards of conduct that make international communication etiquette. Cross-cultural communicative competence allows an individual to establish relationships with people of other cultures – to recognize their cultural values, to tolerate the differences revealed in the manner of communication, styles of behavior, way of life, customs, traditions, etc. .
Hence, successful professional cross-cultural communication of specialists in the field of international relations is an appropriate communicative behavior during the relationship of professional cooperation. It involves a high level of knowledge of foreign languages, and the ability to understand and accept the socio-cultural diversity of partners in dialogue to solve professional problems. The aim and the main feature of teaching cross-cultural communication is to educate students’ communicative-oriented foreign language proficiency in professionally significant situations of cross-cultural business communication.
So it is clear that today while training high school students in international affairs such disciplines as “Foreign Languages” and “Cross-cultural Communication” should be closely related. You also need to build a whole model of teaching cross-cultural communication through the study of foreign languages. Moreover, in each department, focused on the preparation of bachelors in international relations, such a model can have its own characteristics.
These features may include: the need to acquire necessary knowledge and skills through direct cultural contacts, the importance of foreign training and practices of future professionals, inviting foreign teachers and participation in international conferences, forums and projects.
When teaching cross-cultural communication in the process of learning a foreign language, one should take into account the so-called hidden difficulties of speech production and communication. They are due to original lexical and phraseological compatibility of each word in a specific language. Such specificity is evident when comparing languages. Therefore, when studying foreign languages it is important to memorize the words not in isolation, but in natural, stable combinations. Another difficulty is the conflict between cultural perceptions of different people about the reality, which is designated by equivalent words of the languages [4, р. 137].
You can talk about many features of cross-cultural communication training, including the study of foreign languages. To date they work out training manuals, workshops and techniques, the purpose of which is development of speech, language and cross-cultural competence of students. They are designed to facilitate the development of grammatically correct and logically meaningful speech, improve analytical reading skills, expand vocabulary skills, ability to discuss and write, and at the same time reflect the actual problems of modern life. They serve as the basis for a specific model of teaching future specialists of international relations.
Today’s graduates of university will have to work in multicultural environment. One should be aware that the duality and differences in the interpretation of certain phenomena by students of different cultures is inevitability inherent in the structure of the modern world. Therefore, according to modern scholars and teachers it is more important to teach students how to skillfully use a variety of competencies instead of writing what is prohibited or allowed in a particular country [1, р. 42].
Thus, it is important not only to know the principles of cross-cultural communication, but also to use and improve them in practice. So it is also useful and necessary to develop students’ quick thinking and their ability to express ideas in different ways. An invaluable skill for a specialist in the field of cross-cultural communication is the ability to mediate between people, that is to represent the interlocutors to each other and talk correctly in a specific situation of communication. The process of cross-cultural communication makes high demands on the good command of the vocabulary and grammar skills. Fluent foreign language can only be achieved through integrated learning of all kinds of speech activity – speaking, listening, reading and writing [4, р. 137].
As in many professional fields today, the training of specialists in international affairs should be conducted in the context of continuing education, since only under this condition, it is possible to master foreign languages and cross-cultural communication on a qualitative level.
A specialist who graduated from university today, of course, has to be a thoroughly educated person. World civilization dictates a number of requirements to the modern level of education and its fundamental nature. Talking about such an important profession of our time, as a specialist in the sphere of international relations, it must be emphasized that the professionalism of the graduates, possessing knowledge in the area of cross-cultural communication, is based not only on the fundamental and comprehensive training in the language, but also in broadening and deepening the role of the socio-cultural component in the development of communication skills.