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I'm looking for a better word for "actions" in the following sentences.

Foreign language classes help increase acceptance and understanding of other cultures. These actions are important, because ...

I need a word that describes the two words "acceptance" and "understanding." Any suggestions?

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Probably tolerance would work for you [TFD]

tolerance n
1. The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others.

This is probably more skewed toward acceptance than understanding, but it does imply a certain level of understanding.

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    How could this word possibly be used to replace 'actions' in the OP's sentence? – curiousdannii May 11 '15 at 0:15
  • Surely the primary sense of tolerance is much the same as acceptance? You can accept or tolerate something because you have no choice, for example - whether you understand it or not (whatever that's supposed to mean here! :) – FumbleFingers May 11 '15 at 0:33
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word that describes the two words "acceptance" and "understanding."

A rather general, but frequently used term would be, "appreciation."

Foreign language classes help increase the appreciation of other cultures

appreciation noun: 1. the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something. "I smiled in appreciation"; synonyms: valuing, treasuring, admiration, respect, regard, esteem, high opinion; see Google

appreciation noun 1. Recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things. 2. A judgment or opinion, especially a favorable one. see The Free Dictionary

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    Appreciation is a good answer. +1. FYI, using indentation to quote something actually creates (both visually, and semantically from an HTML perspective) a "preformatted code block", not a block quote. The problem with that is that as the browser understands the contents to be preformatted, and code, it will refuse to line-wrap it (as for code, that could change or interfere with its proper interpretation). This creates (awful) horizontal scroll bars. At a higher level, there's no need to quote he original question in your answer. It's understood that you're answering the question. – Dan Bron May 11 '15 at 13:44
  • I know that feeling! Please do not feel as if I was criticizing you or your post: I was not (I upvoted it). I am trying to get in front of the recent trend here where answerers quote the question, which I find redundant, but you're not an offender; mostly it's new/one-off users I'm worried about. My concern with your post was only that we not set precedent with such an answer from a reputable user. In re: Markdown, you have your priorities straight for sure. The general rule of thumb is: on EL&U, you'll almost never need preformatted (i.e. indented) blocks. – Dan Bron May 11 '15 at 19:09
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"assimilation" comes to mind.

"Foreign language classes help increase assimilation of other cultures"

  • assimilation - (noun) The process whereby a minority group gradually adopts the customs and attitudes of the prevailing culture. TFD
  • assimilate - (verb) to adopt the ways of another culture, to fully become part of a different society, country, etc. MW

e.g. "They found it hard to assimilate to American society."

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I am not sure if I am answering your original question. However, in place of actions to describe both acceptance and understanding use

skills

faculty, faculties (Shorter Oxford)

An ability or aptitude, whether natural or acquired, for any special kind of action.

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Both acceptance and understanding include:

A series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end

which is an ODO definition of a process and I think this fits your sentence well:

  • Foreign language classes help increase acceptance and understanding of other cultures. These processes are important, because...

Or, if it doesn't strictly have to be one word:

aspects/forms of (cultural) competence

The term cultural competence is relatively new but one of its definitions (this seems to be susceptible to debate) is:

... the ability of individuals to accept, understand and relate effectively to culturally diverse groups of people.

from: Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology edited by Caroline S. Clauss-Ehlers.

The frequency of usage of the terms "aspects" and "forms" also varies, as shown in this Ngram.

The whole sentence might read:

  • Foreign language classes help increase acceptance and understanding of other cultures. These forms of cultural competence are important, because...

or

  • Foreign language classes help increase acceptance and understanding of other cultures. These aspects of cultural competence are important, because...

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