• University of Leeds

Introduction to Intercultural Studies: Crossing Borders

Take a closer look at geographical and cultural borders and understand their effects on people who occupy them or cross them.

Introduction to Intercultural Studies: Crossing Borders

Learn what borders are and what motivates people to cross them

When thinking of borders, images of division often come to mind. This introductory course will help you learn how borders can both divide and connect territories or people.

You’ll encounter and discuss a range of different borders and employ theories to analyse and explain the functions and effects of different borders on space, and individuals who occupy them and cross them. You’ll explore different circumstances of crossing borders focusing on motivations such as travel or immigration and understand the effects of the invisible borders we all cross everyday.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds This course is about borders, and it’s about border crossings. So in the first part of the course, we’re going to be learning about the concept of the border, and you’re going to be introduced to a range of different types of borders. So we’ll be thinking about the borders between countries, but also between regions, between cities, and even between different parts of cities, as well as non-territorial borders between different religions, different cultures, different languages. Borders exist as markers of identity and markers of difference. So borders are drawn in order to create an in-group and an out-group.

Skip to 0 minutes and 47 seconds Borders divide spaces, and divide groups of people, but they also serve as a point of contact. It is at borders that different groups of people actually come together and have the opportunity to interact. Once we’ve understood what borders are, we will be thinking about the different reasons that people have for crossing borders, different reasons for travel, as well as the way in which we might cross borders in our daily lives without actually leaving the country in which we live.

Skip to 1 minute and 16 seconds If you travel for work, for example, or travel to study, or perhaps if you’re planning a trip around the world, or a holiday somewhere, that you might want to think about the borders that you’re going to encounter, and how you’re going to cross them. It’s also interesting if you perhaps work with people who cross borders, so people who are working with international students, or who might be working with refugees and asylum seekers, and who want to understand their experiences of border crossings. I think that there’s a wide audience that the course could be interesting for.

Skip to 1 minute and 45 seconds Sign up now for Intercultural Studies: Crossing Borders.

What topics will you cover?

  • An examination of the concepts of borders.
  • How different cultures create and demonstrate borders.
  • How borders bring cultures into contact with each other.
  • The reasons why people choose to cross national borders voluntarily.
  • ‘Forced’ migration, considering the reasons people flee their homes.
  • Less formal borders and markers of transition into different cultural environments.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles.

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...

  • Compare and contrast national and cultural borders.
  • Explore the extent to which borders differ and are the same.
  • Investigate the reasons for crossing borders and contrast experiences.
  • Describe how a range of cues enable us to recognise that we have crossed less formal borders.
  • Evaluate how borders both include and exclude people but can also serve as ways of bringing cultures together.
  • Compare the experiences of people crossing borders.

Who is the course for?

The course is for anyone with an interest in the way in which borders shape and influence how we view each other, you don’t need any previous experience.

This course is also ideal if you are preparing to move to a different country for work or study or you work with groups of people from different cultures to yours. By completing all aspects of the course you will have achieved 14 hours of CPD time.

Who will you learn with?

I am Director of Intercultural Studies in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at the University of Leeds.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

Learner reviews

See all FutureLearn Reviews

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.


Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 4 weeks


Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Unlimited (New!)
$259.99 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.