Cultural competence refers to an ability to interact effectively with people of different countries, languages, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds. It involves personal identity and an awareness of one’s own cultural values, beliefs, and perceptions, as well as an openness to and curiosity about difference.
Cultural competence is cultivated through knowledge, skills, feelings, and respect for diversity. Often when cultural competence is considered, it is focused on other countries, and this continues to be important in the 21st century. Yet cultural competence is an important skill in America as a result of immigration patterns and significant increases among racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse populations already residing in the United States.