Intercultural Communication (Section 1)

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Cain/Johnson
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 0800
End: 0915
Field Work: Day 1 - Shanghai - 6 February | China Download Syllabus

Because the world has rapidly changed – global interconnectedness and changing demographics – the study of intercultural communication is more important than ever. The ability to work with and understand others from multiple frames of reference is a necessity, not a luxury. This course is designed to provide both an historical and theoretical understanding of the field combined with the practical application to the countries visited during the semester.  The course explores the complex relationships between culture and communication processes using social, psychological, interpretive and critical perspectives. The course also considers the importance of social, historical and cultural context in intercultural interactions.

Field Work

Country: China
Day: 1 - Shanghai - 6 February

The field lab will be an “Intercultural Interaction Activity” whose purpose is to apply the theoretical concepts and approaches to the ports visited, as well as have an in-depth understanding of intercultural challenges and benefits. Students will apply the Cross-Cultural Adaptation Skills (CCAI) learned in class and assess the application in several venues. China is one of the most important countries to demonstrate well-developed intercultural communication skills for two important reasons:

  1. the language and culture gap is very significant between U.S. and Chinese cultures, and
  2. China’s ever-increasing presence in the global market presents an important opportunity for students to gain first-hand knowledge about how to work most effectively with Chinese or do business in China.
Therefore, students will hear from key business executives who work in Shanghai about how they have adapted to the Chinese culture and approach to business, largely in formal business situations with educated, upper-class Chinese. In contrast, students will understand the perspective on NGOs operating in China by meeting with representatives from selected NGOs who practice intercultural communication with all levels of society and within a variety of venues. Other options for conversations with “intercultural communicators” in Shanghai include talking to a teacher or representative from an English Language School, a foreign journalist, or a Fulbright researcher or teacher in China. Academic Objectives:
  1. Apply the CCAI skills in a real world context and learn how to improve in skill areas.
  2. Experience the application of intercultural communication skills in several different contexts.
  3. Understand the importance of “changing shoes” to effectively interact with other cultures.