Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds[Steve Kulich] Culture is complex. Intercultural communication across cultures is even more complex and often confusing, and in our dynamic and ever-changing world, communication across cultures is increasing at an incredible rate, whether through more media exposure, international travel, virtual interaction, or chance encounters. So how can we comprehend this increasingly complex and challenging situation that we face? To meet these issues, we have intentionally developed this course in Shanghai, a pulsating example of today's fast-paced, culturally mixed, dynamically changing, ever-morphing, metro environments. Chances are, at some point, you'll find yourself in or interacting with someone from one of the world's dynamic global cities or one of China's urban centres. So we would like to help you be ready to face such encounters.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 secondsThis is a five-week course. In week one we'll introduce you to comprehending intercultural communication. In week two, contextualising cultural identities, then in week three, clarifying and contrasting values, and week four, comparing cultural communication styles and, finally, in week five, we'll close with cultivating intercultural adaptation. This course has been developed with Future Learn by our team at the Intercultural Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, or what we call SISU for short. [ZHANG Hongling] Our team has been teaching intercultural theories and applications at the undergraduate, graduate, and now doctorate levels since 1994.

Skip to 2 minutes and 10 secondsInstitutionally, we aim to be a both /and university, focusing both on language and culture, on humanities and social sciences, on the historical and the present, on the local and the global. [CHI Ruobing] We will draw on our over 20 years of research, teaching, and international experience to make this an informative and enriching learning experience for you. So we thank you again for joining us.

Welcoming you to the course

Welcome to our “Intercultural Communication” course! This week introduces the scope and focus of our five weeks together and explains how understanding the topics covered might affect your intercultural encounters.

In our globalized, internationalized, and interlinked world, it is becoming increasingly apparent how complex each of our respective cultures are! Interculturally, communication is confusing, and sometimes even contentious! Our opportunities for cross-border interactions are increasing at an incredible rate, due to more media exposure, international travel, virtual interaction, and chance encounters.

The looming question is, “How can we comprehend and prepare for the increasingly complicated and challenging situations that we might face?”

To address these issues, we have developed this course in Shanghai, a pulsating example of today’s fast paced, culturally-mixed, ever-morphing metro environments. Chances are at some point you will find yourself interacting with someone from one of the world’s dynamic cities, from some part of China, or other unknown or potentially confusing cultural contexts. This course aims to help you be more ready for such encounters.

Over the next five weeks, we will focus on:

  1. comprehending intercultural communication,
  2. contextualizing cultural identities,
  3. comparing cultural communication styles,
  4. clarifying and contrasting values,
  5. cultivating intercultural adaptation.

In covering these topics, we sometimes use “intercultural” or “cross-cultural” interchangeably, but both are generally aimed to address interpersonal encounters between people from two distinguishably different cultural backgrounds or contexts.

With each of us having 20+ years of teaching, research, and international experience, we hope these topics will help you become more cross-culturally aware, interculturally sensitive, and competent. We’ve found that learners gain most when they make comments, read the diverse posts from others and reply to other learners.

So we thank you for joining us! We’re eager to know what you are looking forward to in this course. Please leave a comment about why you are taking the course.

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Intercultural Communication

Shanghai International Studies University (SISU)