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Centres and Institutes

Intercultural communication and interaction

Course Not Running 2014/15
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 2

We are all foreigners in today’s globalised world. Developing an understanding of the many different ways in which we communicate and interact in different circumstances and settings is central to developing intercultural competence. The course will introduce the field of intercultural communication and interaction in theory and practice, through the application of research findings to concrete situations. Key challenges in intercultural interaction will be identified and strategies and skills necessary to handle them effectively in a variety of interactional contexts will be introduced. The students will collect, analyse and present own field data on intercultural communication. By the end of the course, participants will be able to identify challenges and develop strategies to improve intercultural communication in different environments such as the classroom settings, the work place, in diplomacy and international business contexts.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, a student should be able to . . . 

  • identify and describe the components of intercultural encounters and intercultural sensitivity
  • analyse interactions based on the theoretical literature
  • develop strategies and practical solutions for handling intercultural situations

The following transferable skills will be acquired.

  • Independent and analytical thought
  • Processes of logical reasoning and abstract representation
  • High levels of literacy
  • Problem analysis and problem solving

In addition, the course will exercise transferable skills in: 

  • The ability to manage one’s own learning
  • The ability to work independently
  • The ability to work in groups


This course will be taught over 10 weeks with a 1 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

The course will cover the following fundamental concepts in intercultural communication and interaction:

  • Intercultural communication as a field (history and contemporary orientation)
  • Cultural identity
  • Ethnocentrism and cultural relativity
  • Social perception of culture and stereotyping
  • Linguistic diversity and intercultural communication (language differences, verbal style, language and thought)
  • Multimodality (kinesics, proxemics, non-verbal behaviour)
  • Intercultural competence and effectiveness
  • Management of intercultural conflict
  • Media shaping intercultural communication
  • Innovation and change in managing diversity

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (50%); one 1,500 word essay to be submitted on day 5, week 8, in the term in which the course is taught (20%); one 1,500 word essay to be submitted on day 1, week 1, of the following term (20%).  There will also be a formative assessment of one 10 minutes presentation on a project - feedback will be given but no marks will be awarded for this element.