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The University of Southampton

UOSM2017 Intercultural Communication in a Global World

Module Overview

In a world of fast and easy communication, we are increasingly working and studying alongside people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Understanding our intercultural encounters allows us to develop awareness of ourselves and others, as we grow as individuals, develop new relationships and enhance employability through the intercultural competence we acquire. Whether in social settings or various contexts of employment, intercultural communication in today's globalised world can challenge our established ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. This module prepares you to react to these challenges, and to understand how culture and communication operate around you.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Address how communicative interactions can be adapted and managed to enhance intercultural communication;
  • Demonstrate critical awareness, empathy and intercultural awareness in addressing issues with culture and communication;
  • Reflect on how ‘culture’ is understood, interpreted and negotiated in interpersonal interactions and in wider social practices
  • Develop self-awareness and awareness of others in order to understand the influence of cultural background and identity on intercultural communication
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Work and study with awareness and effectiveness in intercultural situations
  • Demonstrate understanding of culture and communication through different forms of communication (e.g. speaking and writing);
  • Understand how to minimise misunderstandings and miscommunication in intercultural interactions;
  • Address practical issues relating to culture and communication with intercultural awareness.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Present ideas about culture and communication through different forms of communication (e.g. speaking and writing);
  • Select and use a range of reference resources;
  • Develop and maintain a personal bibliography,
  • Use information technology appropriately when presenting your work and engaging with the module online.


This module will reflect on what ‘culture’ is and how cultural practices can differ. We also consider how behaviour, thinking and language can be adapted to enhance communication in a way that minimises miscommunication and maximises understanding. We will also explore how people accommodate their communicative styles in order to communicate effectively, and the implications this has, especially for global languages such as English. The module will also reflect on and challenge the knowledge we have of ourselves and our culture(s), as well as our knowledge of others. This includes consideration of how meanings are interpreted differently among people with different backgrounds. We will examine stereotypes, and consider how people accept, consume and perform social difference. Then, through intercultural dialogues, we will look at how we interact with, observe and build knowledge of culture and intercultural communication. The areas typically include: - What culture is and how it relates to communication and language - How intercultural competence and intercultural awareness can be developed in practice and through reflection and dialogue - What research in the field tells us about effective and problematic practices in intercultural communication - The role of language, particularly English, in intercultural communication - How globalisation disseminates and recontextualises cultural meanings and practices - The implications of the Web for intercultural communication and social identification - The roles and domains of stereotypes and issues accompanying them in an increasingly globalised world - Factors that influence working and studying in multilingual and multicultural groups - Differences between cross-cultural and transcultural communication and intercultural communication, and why this matters in discussions of culture and communication - Social dynamics of communication and representations of culture in the media (e.g. mass media, popular culture and social networks)

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Your knowledge and understanding of issues and concepts in intercultural communication studies will be developed through participation in seminar discussions and activities, as well as through tasks set outside class (online discussions, group tasks and readings). This module is assessed through a group presentation and a portfolio that showcases your understanding of culture and communication in your experience and in wider society. Teaching methods typically include: - Lectures on specific topics each week - Seminars - Interactive discussions and tasks Learning activities typically include: - Seminar discussions and activities that explore communication in practice - Applying theoretical knowledge to your own experience and surroundings - Exploration of ideas through face-to-face input and seminar discussions, online interactions, individual study and group work Innovative or special features of this module: - Online discussions and activities consolidate and expand on other input - Freedom to apply ideas on the module to your own interests and experiences through the portfolio and group presentation - Freedom over the communicative style and medium through which you choose to submit your portfolio and communicate your ideas

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

H Spencer-Oatey and P Franklin (2009). Intercultural interaction: a multidisciplinary approach to intercultural communication.. 

Holliday, A., Hyde, M., and Kullman, J.  (2016). Intercultural Communication: An advanced resource book for students, . 

Jackson, J.  (2013). The Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication. . 

Feng, A. M. Byram & M. Fleming (2009). Becoming interculturally competent through education and training. 

C Kramsch (1998). Language and culture. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessment on this module will take the form of a portfolio and a group presentation. Half the portfolio should demonstrate your reflective understanding of communication and culture in your own experience (often taking the form of a diary and analysis of intercultural encounters you have had), and half should present your ability to identify, analyse and discuss elements of culture in the wider world. You have the option of producing your portfolio online (as a webpage) or as a traditional Word/PDF file, and you can include multimedia, including web-links and audio or video files, in the portfolio. The group presentations will involve planning and justifying an intercultural event or intervention. This should identify an issue related to the module (e.g. social exclusion and stereotyping at the University of Southampton) which your proposal should address (e.g. in the form of an awareness-raising Fresher’s event). This should showcase your intercultural awareness, as it should be practically and theoretically justified, as well as being empathetic and inclusive to all involved.


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio  (4000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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