Course number: comm 3301 irel programs Offering

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CIEE Dublin, Ireland
Course name: Intercultural Communication and Leadership

Course number: COMM 3301 IREL

Programs Offering: Arts and Sciences, Arts and Sciences – Trinity College Dublin, Arts and Sciences – University College Dublin

Language of instruction: English

U.S. Semester Credits: 3

Contact Hours: 45

Term: Fall 2019

Course Description

In this class, you will develop skills, knowledge, and understanding that will help you communicate and engage more appropriately and effectively in Dublin as well as in other intercultural contexts. We will explore various topics in intercultural communication in the context of your experience abroad and will practice intercultural learning processes that you can apply when working across difference in a wide variety of contexts. You will increase your own cultural self-awareness and develop personal leadership skills to help you become more effective in an interdependent world.

Learning Objectives

By participating in this course, you will:

  • Increase your own cultural self-awareness.

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the field of intercultural communication and intercultural concepts/theories and their relevance to your own experience in the host culture.

  • Increase your ability to recognize and bridge cultural gaps.

  • Develop an intercultural leadership practice that helps you translate your culture-specific and culture-general knowledge into moment-to-moment competence.

Course Prerequisites

None, apart from an open mind and a sincere interest in exploring things intercultural, which will involve a deep level of self-reflection.

Methods of Instruction

Learning will involve in-class exercises, active reflection, discussion, readings, field reports, short lectures, and out-of-class activities that help you engage in the local culture on a deeper level.

Assessment and Final Grade

Grading will be based on the following:

  1. Journal (6 entries): 20%

  2. Mid-semester cultural comparison project: 20%

  3. Homework & Cultural Partner activities: 20%

  4. Final Digital Storytelling project: 20%

  5. Class participation 20%

Course Requirements

Journal Entries
You will be asked to complete six different reflective journal entries over the course of the semester. You are free to write about whatever is on your mind at the moment as long as it is relevant to the course; you will be provided with ideas and suggestions for possible topics to address throughout the course of the semester. The goal of the journal entries is to give you a chance to reflect on your intercultural experience in a personally-relevant way.
As outlined in the schedule, two entries each are due during weeks 5, 8, and 13 of the semester.
Your journal entries should be typed and no more than two double-spaced pages. They will be graded on the depth of reflection and application of course concepts to your personal experience.
Mid-Semester Cultural Comparison Project
The mid-semester Cultural Comparison Project involves writing a paper and doing a short in-class presentation. You may do this project individually or with a partner.
For this project, you are asked to examine a theme within the local host culture in comparison to your home culture (as defined by you). Themes may be any topic that is of interest to you and relevant both in the local context and in your home culture, and should be relatively specific rather than sweepingly general. Examples of possible themes include: food and eating habits; attitudes and practices around alcohol consumption; displaying affection; parenting; inequality and difference (based on religion, sexuality, race, etc.); expectations in higher education; exercise or sport; news consumption; advertising; etc. The topic/theme you choose should be something you have experienced or had close contact with in both your host and home cultures.
Please discuss the similarities and differences between the two cultures with regards to your topic of choice, particularly with respect to two or three of the cultural value patterns discussed in class. You should aim to integrate personal experience with concepts learned in class.
The paper should be typed, double-spaced, and between 4-5 pages. It may be written in the first person. You should cite at least three academic sources (from the course readings or other). It is also highly recommended you consult with at least two locals (such as your Cultural Partners) about this topic and incorporate any useful insight they offer into your paper (although be careful not to present anyone’s opinions as fact).
You should address the following:

  • What similarities and differences have you noticed and/or experienced between (as well as within) your host culture and home culture with regards to your chosen theme?

  • To what extent and how do cultural value patterns help you understand these similarities and differences?

In addition to the paper, you should be prepared to present to the class on your topic in class 14. The presentation may take any form you like and creativity is encouraged.

Homework & Cultural Partner Activities
Homework will include assigned readings and activities to complete outside of class. You are responsible for completing the homework outlined in the syllabus and asking for clarification when needed.
As part of this course, you are required to identify a Cultural Partner–someone who has been a resident of the host culture for many years–with whom you will need to complete several activities throughout the semester. More information about choosing a Cultural Partner will be provided in class.
Final Digital Storytelling Project
As a final project for this course, you will be creating a Digital Story. Digital Storytelling involves short (two to three minute) first-person stories combined with still images (and often music). Through this means, you will share your own personal story of the study abroad experience. More information will be provided soon.

Weekly Schedule



Assignment/Reading Due

Week 1: Introduction

Section 1


Section 2

Intercultural Communication & Study Abroad

  • Complete Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)

  • Bennett, ‘Intercultural communication: A current perspective’ (pp. 1-34)

  • Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, ‘An introduction to culture,’ ‘The one best way of organizing does not exist,’ and ‘The meaning of culture’ (pp. 1-28)

  • Zemach-Bersin

Bennett, M.J. (1998). Intercultural communication: A current perspective. In M.J. Bennett (Ed.), Basic concepts of intercultural communication: Selected readings (pp. 1-34). Boston, MA: Intercultural Press.

Trompenaars, F. & Hampden-Turner, C. (1998). An introduction to culture; The one best way of organizing does not exist; The meaning of culture. In F. Trompenaars & C. Hampden-Turner, Riding the waves of culture: Understanding diversity in global business, 2nd ed. (pp. 1-28). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Zemach-Bersin, T. (2008). American students abroad can’t be ‘global citizens.’ Chronicle of Higher Education, 54(26), A34.

Week 2: Who am I in the context of this experience?

Section 3

Identity in Context

  • First activity with Cultural Partner

  • Yep

  • Hammad

Section 4

Identity & Study Abroad Intensity Factors

  • Paige

Yep, G.A. (1998). My three cultures: Navigating the multicultural identity landscape. In J.N. Martin, T.K. Nakayama & L.A. Flores (Eds.), Readings in cultural contexts (pp. 79-85). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing.
Hammad, H.B. (2007). NAFSA 2007 student diplomat essay competition winner.
Paige, R.M. (1993). On the nature of intercultural experiences and intercultural education. In Paige, R.M. (Ed.), Education for the intercultural experience (pp. 1-13 only). Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.

Week 3: Introduction to Intercultural Communication: How do we interact?

Section 5

Culture & Communication

  • Ting-Toomey & Chung, ‘What is intercultural communication flexibility?’ and ‘What is the connection between verbal communication and culture? (pp. 22-37 & 110-129)

Section 6

How do we interact non-verbally?

  • Ting-Toomey & Chung, ‘What are the different ways to communicate nonverbally across cultures?’ (pp. 130-153)

Ting-Toomey, S. & Chung, L.C. (2012). What is intercultural communication flexibility?; What is the connection between verbal communication and culture?; What are the different ways to communicate nonverbally across cultures? In S. Ting-Toomey & L.C. Chung, Understanding intercultural communication (pp. 22-37, 110-153). New York: Oxford University Press.

Week 4: Cultural Value Patterns

Section 7

Introduction to Cultural Value Patterns

  • ‘I am…’ activity with CP

  • Ting-Toomey & Chung, ‘What are the essential cultural value patterns?’ (pp. 3-26)

Section 8

Host Culture Value Patterns

  • Observation and analysis of communication in context assignment

  • Hofstede et al., ‘The rules of the social game’ (pp. 3-26)

  • Hofstede et al., one additional chapter to be assigned by instructor

Ting-Toomey, S. & Chung, L.C. (2012). What are the essential cultural value patterns? In S. Ting-Toomey & L.C. Chung, Understanding intercultural communication (pp. 38-63). New York: Oxford University Press.
Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J. & Minkov, M. (2010). The rules of the social game. In G. Hofstede, G.J. Hofstede, & M. Minkov, Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind: Intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival, 3rd ed. (pp. 3-26). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Week 5: Stereotypes

Section 9


  • Plous

  • Journal entries 1 & 2

Section 10

Perceptions of Us

  • Reading that offers local perspective on U.S. Americans and/or foreigners more generally (TBD)

Plous, S. (2003). The psychology of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination: An overview. In S. Plous (Ed.), Understanding prejudice and discrimination (pp. 3-48). New York: McGraw-Hill. Available online at

Week 6: Engagement in the Host Culture

Section 11

Cultural Engagement Activity

Section 12

Culture Shock and Adaptation

  • Activity/discussion with CP about perceptions of U.S. Americans

  • Ting-Toomey & Chung, ‘What is culture shock?’ (pp. 91-109)

Ting-Toomey, S. & Chung, L.C. (2012). What is culture shock? In S. Ting-Toomey & L.C. Chung, Understanding intercultural communication (pp.91-109). New York: Oxford University Press.

Week 7: Examining Our Personal Values

Section 13

What do I value?

Section 14

Cultural Comparison Project Presentations

  • Group Projects!

Week 8: Practicing Intercultural Competence

Section 15

What does it mean to be interculturally competent?

  • Trompenaars & Hampden-Turner, ‘Relationships and rules’ and ‘Reconciling cultural dilemmas’ (pp. 29-50 & 200-217)

  • Hammer

Section 16

Cultural Detective

  • Journal entries 3 & 4

Trompenaars, F. & Hampden-Turner, C. (1998). Relationships and rules; Reconciling cultural dilemmas. In F. Trompenaars & C. Hampden-Turner, Riding the waves of culture: Understanding diversity in global business, 2nd ed. (pp.29-50 & 200-217). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Hammer, M.R. (2008), The Intercultural Development Inventory: An approach for assessing and building intercultural competence. In M.A. Moodian (Ed.), Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Exploring the cross-cultural dynamics within organizations (pp. 203-217). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Week 9: Practicing Personal Leadership

Section 17

Introduction to Personal Leadership

  • Schaetti et al., Parts I & II (pp. xxi-118)

Section 18

Aligning with Vision

  • Something’s Up activity

Schaetti, B.F., Ramsey, S.J., & Watanabe, G.C. (2008). Personal Leadership: Making a world of difference: A methodology of two principles and six practices. Seattle, WA: FlyingKite Publications. Introduction, Parts I & II (pp. xxi-118).

Week 10

Section 19

Digital Storytelling: Story Circles

  • Draft of story for final project

Section 20

Cultural Engagement Activity

Week 11: Practicing Personal Leadership: The Critical Moment Dialogue

Section 21

Practicing with the Critical Moment Dialogue

  • Come to class having identified a Something’s Up you wish to discuss

  • Schaetti, et al., Part III (pp. 119-151)

Section 22

Practicing with the Critical Moment Dialogue (continued)

  • Solo Challenge activity

Schaetti, B.F., Ramsey, S.J., & Watanabe, G.C. (2008). Personal Leadership: Making a world of difference: A methodology of two principles and six practices. Seattle, WA: FlyingKite Publications. Part III (pp. 119-151).

Week 12: Practicing Cultural Detective and Personal Leadership Together

Section 23

Personal Leadership + Cultural Detective = EPIC

  • Long-form personal CMD

Section 24

Partner Work (no official class meeting)

Week 13

Section 25

Debrief EPIC application

  • EPIC Flow

Section 26

How can we articulate and use what we’ve learned?

  • Journal entries 5 & 6

  • Booz Allen Hamilton

  • Matherly

British Council, Ipsos Public Affairs, & Booz Allen Hamilton (2013). Culture at work: The value of intercultural skills in the workplace. Available online at

Matherly, C. (n.d.) Effective marketing of international experiences to employers.

Week 14: Re-Entry & Wrap-Up

Section 27


  • Storti

Section 28

Presentation of Digital Stories

  • Digital Stories

Storti, C. (2003). Introduction; The stages of reentry. In C. Storti, The art of coming home (pp. xii-xxi & 45-65). Boston, MA: Intercultural Press.

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