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Online course

Intercultural Communication

Learn to appreciate, adjust to, and work or study in different cultures, with this free online intercultural communication course.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Intercultural Communication

Why join the course?

Whether you’re engaging in business across borders or cultural regions, meeting other people through international travel, working in a diverse, global organisation or studying abroad, you can benefit from a better understanding of intercultural communication.

Master the basics of intercultural communication

This free online course will focus on the basic but important concepts. It will:

  • help you better understand cross-cultural complexity;
  • cultivate your awareness of your own and others’ cultural identities;
  • highlight some notable variations in communication styles and cultural values;
  • and signpost paths towards building your intercultural competence.

We will start with a journey of self-discovery, telling each other our cultural stories and exploring different cultures. You will be amazed to see how cultures have influenced our perceptions, thinking, communication styles, values and beliefs.

Adjust to new cultural practices that come into your life

The understanding and appreciation of cultural differences that you gain will help you adjust to the new cultural practices that come into your life - whether via the media or through interpersonal interactions.

You will learn with a cross-cultural team from Shanghai International Studies University (SISU), since its inception in 1949 which has become a leader in language and culture teaching.

You can find out more in a quiz on the FutureLearn blog: “Have you ever committed a cultural faux pas?

Download video: standard or HD

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to the course and field, potential learning objectives, and leading definitions of what constitutes “intercultural communication”.
  • Exploration of story narratives, metaphors, and meanings related to interculturality.
  • Analysis of situated cases to identify sources of intercultural misunderstanding.
  • Benefits of intercultural applications to personal life, business and education.
  • Variations in personal, social, and cultural identity, and cultivate greater awareness and sensitivity to one’s own and other’s cultural identities.
  • Exposure to and appreciation of cross-cultural complexity through the social learning engagement of this international community.
  • Social perceptions of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination related to intergroup contact.
  • Variations and perceptions of typical communication behaviors or practices and taxonomies for understanding context, space, time and other contextual factors (Hi-low Context, Proxemics, Monochronic-Polychronic, Silence).
  • Exposure to and application of leading values frameworks and levels of analysis that undergird cultural assumptions, expectations, and behaviors (from Hall, Hofstede, Schwartz, the WVS).
  • Experiential descriptions of culture shock and coping dynamics, adaptation processes, and growth outcomes in cross-cultural transitions.
  • Reflection on complex cases, other’s comments, and replies to enhance mindful observation, analysis, and understanding toward cultivating intercultural competence.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Identify the importance of learning intercultural communication
  • Describe the composition and significance of your cultural identities
  • Compare cultural assumptions of your own and others
  • Identify cultural variations in communication styles
  • Classify some major cultural values underlying different behaviors
  • Apply these for adaptation in intercultural interactions more confidently and resourcefully

Who is the course for?

This course assumes no prior knowledge and is suitable for pre-university, undergraduate and post-experience students. You will need high school-level English or above, an interest in international issues, and curiosity about, exposure to or experience with other cultures.

Who will you learn with?

Steve Kulich

Welcome! As founder of the SISU Intercultural Institute, MA, PhD and MBA IC Programs at Shanghai Int'l Studies Univ and President-Elect of IAIR, I'm eager to learn with you on this IC journey!

Hongling Zhang

Professor and Deputy Director of the Intercultural Institute of Shanghai International Studies University. Director of Office for International Cooperation and Exchange, SISU.

Ruobing Chi

Teacher and researcher at the Intercultural Institute of Shanghai International Studies University.

Who developed the course?

Shanghai International Studies University (SISU), established in 1949, is one of the earliest institutions where China’s higher education in foreign languages took shape.

What’s the difference between a free course and an upgraded course?

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $84 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

Image access mobile

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

Image certificate mobile

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete.