This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
The number of participants is limited to 25.
- This Elective will be offered twice: Intercultural Communication 1 & 2. The total number of students able to participate in this course is therefore 50.
Communicating with people from different (linguistic) backgrounds is an everyday matter, especially in the globalized world we live in today. Most people speak several languages, but there is more to communication than knowing how to construct grammatical sentences in a language. Alongside linguistic competence, interactional competence is essential to successfully participate in communication. Included in interactional competence is knowing what words are appropriate to use, when (not) to speak, what (not) to talk about, in short how to express yourself in a culturally accepted manner. This inevitably depends on the speech situation you are in: an informal conversation is nothing like a courtroom examination; communication in an educational setting differs greatly from a service encounter; and a business meeting and a doctor’s consult are guided by different norms.
Speakers possess a range of communicative strategies to choose from each time they address someone. What strategies are considered socially appropriate is by no means universal. What might be the correct way to behave in one language and (language) culture, is not necessarily approved of in another. In this course we will discuss different aspects of communication that can show great divergence between speech communities, including power relations and stereotypes, politeness, language taboos, language and gesture, naming and addressing, and conversational expectations in general. Considering the fact that in intercultural communication at least one of the parties is speaking a language that is not their native tongue, recognizing the existence of such differences and knowing how to handle them is an important step towards successful communication. We will analyze case studies of different intercultural communication situations to gain insight in the possible problems interlocutors may encounter and the strategies they use to avoid them.
The Electives for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the multidisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.
Academic skills that are trained include:
Oral and written presentation skills:
1. To explain clear and substantiated research results.
2. To provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course:
in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
using up-to-date presentation techniques;
using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
aimed at a specific audience.
3. To actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.
1. To be socio-communicative in collaborative situations.
2. To provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position.
3. To adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.
Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. To collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques.
2. To analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability.
3. To formulate on this basis a sound research question.
4. To design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved.
5. To formulate a substantiated conclusion.
The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.
Mode of instruction
Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the Midterm Exam week. This includes supervised research.
Total course load for this course is 10 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), which equals 280 hours, broken down by:
Attending seminars (2 hours per week x 12): 24 hours
Reading literature and preparing assignments: 126 hours
Oral presentation and writing the final research essay: 130 hours
Assessment and Weighing
|Assignments and in-class participation
|Final Research Essay (5,000 words)
To successfully complete the course, please take note that the End Grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assessment components.
Students who have been active participants in class and submitted the Final Essay on time, but scored an overall insufficient mark, are entitled to a resit. For the resit, students are given a chance to hand in a new version of the Final Essay.
In case of resubmission of the Final Essay (insufficient grade only) the final grade for the Essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the Final Essay.
Retaking a passing grade
Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2018 – 2019.
How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.
Course readings will be announced on Blackboard.
Registration occurs via survey only. Registration opens 3 December:
1) On 3 December you will receive a message with a link to the survey.
2) Indicate there which are your 5 preferred Electives, in order of preference.
3) Based on preferences indicated by 16 December the Electives Coordinator will assign you to one specific Elective by 15 January.
4) Students will then be enrolled for the specific groups by the Administration Office.
5) All students are required to enroll for their group in Blackboard to access all course information.
Students cannot register in uSis for the Elective, or be allowed into an Elective in any other way.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.
The deadline for submission of the Final Essay is 14 June 2019.