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Intercultural Communication: Dynamics of cultural identities in global interaction

Gain vital insights to understand cross-cultural interactions with this introduction from a top Chinese international university

68,879 enrolled on this course

An asian woman speaking to a caucasian man surrounded by colleagues

Explore how to improve your communication with people from other cultures

As relationships, education, and business become ever-more global, the awareness and practice of intercultural communication have become vital skill sets.

If you are interacting with students from overseas, studying abroad, traveling, working in a multinational office, or simply eager to know ways of improving your communication skills, then seeking to understand how to overcome cultural differences is crucial.

On this course you’ll learn how to become aware your own and others’ cultural identities, cultural assumptions we each carry, the nuances of cross-cultural interaction, and their potential for (mis)understanding and growth. You’ll learn different communication styles, how values can change from country to country, and how you can more readily assess and adapt to diverse contexts.

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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?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

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."

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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  • Access to ALL eligible short courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Buy this course

$69

One-off payment

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  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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