Theme 5 and Final Assignments

Please choose one of the following assignments. In your analysis you should use ideas and concepts from the entire Introduction to Intercultural Communication course.

1) Intercultural competence: A critical incident

Recall a situation where there was a cultural misunderstanding (e.g., disagreement or argument) between you and a person from another culture. (Notice! If need be, you could view culture in the broader sense-- another gender, profession, region etc.). Briefly describe the general context (e.g., is the person your friend, your spouse, a stranger, etc, and the general topic of the misunderstanding).

A) Describe your experience in the situation, with an emphasis on how you were acting in an appropriate way according to your own culture. Provide as much detail as needed to clearly present the event.

B) Describe the same disagreement from the other person's perspective (using "I" to represent that person's thoughts), with an emphasis on how that person would have been acting appropriately according to his/her culture. That is, pretend you are the other person completing A).

C) Discuss critically, then, some of the ways in which the two of you were perceiving things differently, thus giving you a different experience of the event? At what position of intercultural sensitivity were you operating? (Use Milton Bennett's model "Development of Intercultural Sensitivity" as a guideline for your analysis.) How did cultural differences contribute to the misunderstanding?

D) Next, discuss what could have been done differently to have avoided or decreased the level of misunderstanding. What new meaning perspectives or lessons can be drawn from that one experience and your reflection on the events that you can use in future interactions?

E) Optional: If you wish, you can show this analysis to the person involved.  What is his/her perspective on your attempts to empathize how he/she was feeling during the misunderstanding?  What is his/her reaction to your recollections and analysis.

The assignment requires you to answer elements A, B, C and D; E, of course, is optional. This assignment should be about 2-3 pages long.


2) Developing Intercultural Competence

Go over the different viewpoints and themes presented during this course. Concentrate especially on the idea of intercultural competence. Discuss the following themes as critically as possible.

A) To what extent can intercultural competence be learned?

B) In your opinion, what kind of methods should prove the most efficient when trying to improve one's intercultural competence?

C) Looking back at your schooling and studies, choose one example of a course or an experience that, in your opinion, has had a strong (positive or negative) influence in the development of your own intercultural competence or intercultural sensitivity.

Remember to ground your argumentation to the course material where appropriate. You can also introduce other sources when doing this assignment. This assignment should be about 2-3 pages long.


Course evaluation

Please include in your final document a short evaluation of the course. You can use the following questions as a guide, or raise other insights important to you:

  • What was new to you / surprised you / made you curious in the course?
  • What did you learn?
  • What did you find especially relevant or what interested you professionally? Would you have liked to have more information on something?
  • Which topics were not so relevant or interesting from your point of view? Why?
  • In general, what do you think of the organization of the course, and the materials? What was especially good? What could we improve next time?

When you send the assignments, please remember to write both to the e-mail and the attachment file your name, social security number (or birth date) and your major at the University.

Thank you!


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