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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds[Steve Kulich] I'm Steve Kulich, your lead instructor, a US-American with a European immigrant background. On my father's side, my family were Czechs, Bohemians, who immigrated to the US in about 1900. On my mother's side, we come from a long line of Scots and British who first settled in the eastern part of the US in about 1700 and then over the years became part of those pioneers who migrated west. I've been living and working among Chinese since I graduated with a degree in Education in 1979. I first taught college English and business English at Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan, then did team building training and cross-cultural research in Singapore. Later I studied Chinese at Xiamen University in Fujian Province.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 secondSo now you can see, when we get to that part of the course where we describe our cultural identities, I have some serious unpacking to do in trying to figure out which of my cultural identities is most important or salient in various intercultural encounters. And this is also true for each on our teaching team. So now, let me have them each introduce themselves to you through their own brief cultural stories. [ZHANG Hongling] Hello, I'm Zhang Hongling. You could call me Professor Zhang or Zhang Laoshi. It is so nice to meet you all for this course on intercultural communication.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 secondsAmong my many identities, I am particularly grateful that I have developed the identity of an intercultural communication learner, teacher, researcher, and practitioner. Learning intercultural communication helped me understand that people with different cultural backgrounds think and communicate in different manners, and this constitutes the amazing cultural diversity in the world. Teaching intercultural communication over these many years, I enjoy reading and listening to students' cultural stories each time, which demonstrates the value of sharing, understanding, and appreciating each other's cultural experiences. As Director of the International Office of Shanghai International Studies University, I am fortunate to have many opportunities to practise intercultural communication.

Skip to 2 minutes and 37 secondsIn my numerous encounters with people from various walks of life, from both home and abroad, I get to learn what it means to venture out of the comfort zone. I find it both frustrating and enriching and rewarding as well.

Skip to 2 minutes and 56 secondsMy experiences,00:02:57.690 --> 00:03:01.220 align:middle line:84% growing up in a small town near Wuhan,

Skip to 3 minutes and 1 secondstudying and working these many years in Shanghai, then studying in the United States as a Fulbright Scholar, and serving as the Director of the Confucius Institute in Naples, Italy were also incredibly formative experiences for me, providing numerous personal examples that I still reflect on. Meanwhile, as a scholar dedicated to the research of intercultural communication, I have a strong sense of responsibility to investigate this complex and significant aspect of human behaviour in context. The coming weeks, I look forward to sharing with you what I have gained from my journey of learning, teaching, practicing, and studying intercultural communication. Of course, I also expect you to share with us your cultural experiences and stories.

Skip to 4 minutes and 2 seconds[CHI Ruobing] Hello there. My name is Chi Ruobing, a Research Fellow at the Intercultural Institute of Shanghai International Studies University. It's a great pleasure to be on the teaching team of this course, and I'm looking forward to the intercultural journey that we are going to take together. I was born and raised in inner Mongolia, Nei Menggu, an ethnically autonomous region in Northern China. The landscape, climate, customs, and spoken languages differ greatly from those in Shanghai, so when I first came to Shanghai as a freshman in 1998, I felt completely out of place, insecure, and overwhelmed by the multi-cultural and dynamic metropolitan city.

Skip to 4 minutes and 53 secondsLater, when I started taking courses on intercultural communication from our lead instructor, Professor Steve Kulich, all my past experiences and fellings started to make sense and launched me on a journey that has brought us now into contact through this course. As I stepped further into this field as a graduate student and later as a lecturer, I became more motivated to pursue a life and a career to explore the possibilities and outcomes of culture mixing in this era of globalisation. The most important lesson I have learned is that if you are willing to be changed in behaviour and attitudes, you will get the most out of your own experiences and from other's stories.

Skip to 5 minutes and 44 secondsThe abilities to shift positions, check assumptions, and empathise feelings are the fortunes I am trying to gather over a lifetime. In retrospect, I would like to say that learning about intercultural communication has transformed me, both personally and professionally. I hope that our course will do the same to you, to provide you both with extra perspectives and understanding while interacting with those from different cultural backgrounds.

Cultural stories of your educators

Each of us has unique culture stories – who we are and what we’ve experienced in our situated culture contexts. To help you get to know us, each of our educators introduces their cultural backgrounds and intercultural experiences.

Your team of educators represents a wide range of cultural contexts and intercultural experiences. As you consider the varied backgrounds and experiences each of them reports on, you can be thinking both about what THEY might be able to offer to your own intercultural development (which would be great to comment on using the pink ‘plus’ button at the bottom of this page), as well as reflectively start to consider what features distinguish you (which we’ll ask YOU to share with us all in the next step).

Steve J. Kulich comes from a small farming town in the Midwestern USA, and has both Czech immigrant and English/Scottish/Dutch pioneering settler roots. But he has lived in Asia since 1979 and mostly in China since 1986, focusing on intercultural education and training for the last 20 years.

ZHANG Hongling, who grew up in a small town nearby Wuhan, central China, is also an intercultural communication learner, teacher, researcher, and practitioner. In her many identities and professional roles (past Fulbright Scholar in the US, past Confucius Institute Co-Director in Naples, Italy, and currently Director of the International Office at SISU), she enjoys seeking to understand people from different backgrounds and especially reading and listening to learners’ culture stories from each of you!

CHI Ruobing grew up in Inner Mongolia in northern China and has lived in both Nanjing and Shanghai. Since doing her MA at SISU and her PhD at the University of Hawaii, she has focused her study on intercultural adaptation, personal attitude, empathy, and transformative development in and through cross-cultural interactions.

We invite you to follow our Educators! If reading or hearing the explanations from your educators elicits any thoughts or responses for you, please post them in the comments.

In the next step (1.4) we will ask you to write a short post for fellow learners. You can start preparing your thoughts on what YOU consider to be the most important cultural feature about yourself.

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This video is from the free online course:

Intercultural Communication

Shanghai International Studies University (SISU)