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Intercultural Communication

Learn the essentials of cross-cultural interaction with this free online intercultural communication course.

Intercultural Communication
  • Duration5 weeks
  • Weekly study4 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $64Find out more

Explore how to improve your communication with people from other cultures

As business becomes ever-more global, intercultural communication has become a vital skill.

If you work in a multinational office, work or study abroad, or simply want to know how to improve your communication skills, understanding how to overcome cultural differences is crucial.

On this course you’ll learn how to understand the nuances of cross-cultural interaction, understanding your own and others’ cultural identities. You’ll learn different communication styles, and how values can change from country to country.

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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?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now

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 is suitable for pre-university, undergraduate and post-experience students. You will need conversational English or above, an interest in international issues, and curiosity about, exposure to or experience of other cultures.

What do people say about this course?

Thank you very much for this well-structured and informative course! Step by step I gained some knowledge and experience in intercultural communication. During the discussion sessions of some intercultural problems, I've found interesting posts with the information how to communicate with other cultures and avoid misunderstandings.

Maria Komissarova

Who will you learn with?

Steve Kulich

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

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

Ruobing Chi

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

Who developed the course?

Shanghai International Studies University (SISU)

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

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