Intercultural Communication & Acculturation

Course Description

This course is an introduction to intercultural communication, the study of how people from different cultures communicate and understand each other. The course focuses on teaching students how to interact and communicate effectively with people from different global cultures. Students will learn how to adapt and thrive in unfamiliar cultures and gain a practical and academic understanding of different cultures. The course helps students to improve their intercultural contact, appreciate cultural and individual differences, adapt to unfamiliar situations and communicate with empathy, integrity and confidence.

We explore cultures through research from Japan and a wide range of countries, emphasising the idea of 'global citizenship'. The course recognises that we are shaped not only by Japan, but by our interactions with the world. In the future, whether we live abroad or not, we will have more interactions with non-Japanese, and this course aims to prepare students to be effective in these interactions.

Using relevant theories and methods, students will understand intercultural communication and acculturation in a range of scenarios commonly experienced by Japanese people. The course uses a wide range of primary source materials and case studies in English to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

This course is ideal for students who wish to travel or live abroad, communicate with non-Japanese, work as teachers of English or Japanese, or work in the hospitality industry. It is good preparation for those who wish to become global citizens with the ability to navigate and communicate effectively in different cultures.




Introduction to Intercultural Communication

What is intercultural communication and why is it important?

What are some of the main challenges associated with communicating across cultures?

What are some of the benefits of developing intercultural communication skills?


Cultural Identity

How do our cultural identities shape the way we see the world?

How do our cultural identities affect the way we communicate with others?

How can we become more aware of our own cultural identity?


Cultural Differences

What are some of the key cultural differences that can impact communication?

How do different cultures approach concepts like time, space, and hierarchy?

How can we learn to navigate these cultural differences in order to communicate effectively?


[ON-DEMAND CLASS]  Stereotypes

What are stereotypes and how do they impact intercultural communication?

What are some strategies for challenging stereotypes and reducing their negative effects?

How can we become more aware of our own stereotypes and biases?


Communication Styles

What are communication styles and how do they differ across cultures?

How can we adapt our communication style to fit different cultural contexts? 

How can we use communication styles to build stronger relationships with people from other cultures? 


Verbal Communication

How does verbal communication vary across cultures?

What are the benefits of embracing linguistic diversity?


Nonverbal Communication

How does nonverbal communication including body language differ across cultures?

What are some strategies for effective nonverbal communication in intercultural contexts?

How can we become more aware of the nonverbal cues that we are sending to others?


[ON-DEMAND CLASS] Intercultural Conflict

What causes intercultural conflict?

How can we solve intercultural conflict?


Mental and Physical Health When Abroad

What are the stages of cultural adjustment?

What is reverse culture shock?

How can we stay healthy mentally and physically when abroad?

How can we stay safe when abroad?


Study Abroad

What are the differences between universities in Japan and in English-speaking countries?

What challenges do Japanese university students face when studying abroad?  

Is it better to avoid making Japanese friends when you study abroad?


Work Abroad

What challenges do global businesses with employees from different cultures face?  

Why do some Japanese companies use English as their official language?


[ON-DEMAND CLASS] Communication in a Transnational World

How does transnational mobility affect identity and belonging?

What does it mean to be Japanese outside of Japan?

What are the linguistic and cultural barriers Japanese abroad face? How can they overcome them?


Intercultural Romance

What are the advantages and disadvantages of intercultural relationships?

What makes a happy intercultural relationship between Japanese and non-Japanese?

Would racism disappear if the world had only intercultural couples?


Intercultural Friendships

What are the life-changing benefits of having international friends?

How can you make international friends and navigate cultural differences?


[ON-DEMAND CLASS] Intercultural Communication on the Internet

What are the main features of intercultural communication on the internet?

Does translation and artificial intelligence (AI) software help or hinder intercultural communication?