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Intercultural Communication

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

63,539 enrolled on this course

Intercultural Communication
  • Duration5 weeks
  • Weekly study4 hours
  • 100% onlineTry this course for free
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $74Find 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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  • Week 1

    Comprehending intercultural communication

    • What is this course about?

      We welcome you and introduce the course, its learning objectives and the Educator's team through our culture stories. And we invite you to start introducing your cultural highlights with other participants.

    • What is intercultural communication?

      We explore the meaning of the course topic via definitions, metaphors, explanatory articles and an applied case. Through considering these illustrations, we invite you to reflect on some sources of culture differences.

    • Why is understanding intercultural communication important?

      We asked various scholars to explain why they think understanding intercultural communication is important, considering applications to personal life, business or education. And we invite comments on your own benefits.

  • Week 2

    Contextualizing cultural identities

    • Clarifying who I am

      This week focuses on getting to know you better by exploring our various identities, especially those influenced by our cultures.

    • Understanding who “you” are

      Engaged intercultural communication should take us beyond self-awareness to willing “other” awareness. Sensitivity to how others perceive who they are and what is important to them underlies meaningful interaction across cultures.

    • Perceiving how identities affect intercultural interaction

      Social perceptions affect us more than we realize, framing stereotypes, prejudices or patterns. Intercultural exercises and intergroup contact help expose latent attitudes so learners can consider changes in how they view others.

    • Responding to each other’s “own cultural” stories

      Social perceptions affect us more than we realize, framing stereotypes, prejudices or patterns. Intercultural exercises and intergroup contact help expose latent attitudes so learners can consider changes in how they view others.

  • Week 3

    Comparing cultural communication styles

    • Observing different communication styles

      It helps us to compare how communication behaviors differ and what is considered best or appropriate in respective environmental and social contexts, especially how what we notice, express or infer might be perceived or handled.

    • Noticing space and time variations

      These important aspects are understood and handled differently in varied contexts: Halls’ Proxemics for space and Monochronic and Polychronic time orientations contrast some practices preferred in different cultural settings.

    • Listening mindfully and observing sensitively

      Having been exposed to ways of considering context, silence, space and time, it's time to see how to apply them. Observing and interacting over these topics may also enhance your interculturality.

  • Week 4

    Clarifying and contrasting values

    • What are cultural values?

      Values are often seen as notable underlying differences between cultures. As a part of deep culture, socialization into groups cultivates certain values and beliefs that undergird our assumptions, expectations, and behaviors.

    • How are values framed and compared?

      Of the many frameworks used for cross-cultural value analysis, Geert Hoftsede’s dimensions have been most influential. We introduces his and other’s approaches that are most applicable for studying divergent cultural values.

    • How do value differences influence communication?

      Many scholars have proposed comparative constructs or dimensions. Of those more fully theorized and tested, we highlight three domains that seem especially useful for noting and explaining important cross-cultural differences.

  • Week 5

    Cultivating intercultural adaptation

    • Issues in crossing cultures

      Any move to a new location or contact with other cultures may elicit varied responses. Some may confuse us cognitively, cause unexpected behaviors, or make us feel strange, so we start by raising important questions and topics.

    • Understanding culture shock dynamics

      Understanding and coping with culture shock is an important part of enhancing intercultural competence. This helps you understand the concept of culture shock, its symptoms and attitudes you can cultivate towards culture shock.

    • Developing through adaptation processes

      Adjusting to new cultural contexts is an ongoing process, one with many ups and downs. Whether we use U or W curves or repeated waves or cycles to describe this, each stress facilitates adaptation and growth that can develop us.

    • Moving from adaptation to competence

      We highlight strategies that show culture shock and adaptation as positive processes. Tips and suggestions are given from our personal experiences, and you are reminded to review these in light of the overall course goals.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • 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?

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!

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

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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