Intercultural Communication Skills (ICS)

Develop your understanding and skills in effective communication in global contexts.


Course Content and Unit Aims

Unit 1

Defining Culture

  • To discuss understandings of ‘culture’
  • To discuss and compare our own intercultural experiences
  • To begin to examine our own identities
  • To begin to identify shared identities and value diversity in our classes
  • To reflect on our experiences and understandings of culture and intercultural communication

Unit 2

Values and Communication

  • To share and analyse intercultural encounters
  • To discuss the relationship between uncertainty and intercultural communication
  • To reflect and discuss how personality (control and connection desires) can impact discussions
  • To explore how your values relate to interaction
  • To complete and reflect on a personality quiz

Unit 3

Face, Roles and Critical Intercultural Communication

To express an understanding of concepts concerning:

  • Face
  • Roles
  • Expectations
  • Intercultural Conflict
  • Critical Incidents
  • Critical intercultural communication

Unit 4

The future: Overcoming barriers and building rapport to succeed in global teams

  • To share and analyse intercultural encounters
  • To introduce and apply a framework to analyse undesirable encounters and adapt appropriately
  • To explore conscious and unconscious biases in order to understand and overcome
  • To explore reverting thinking – stages in a strategy to overcome Othering
  • To assess your progress in intercultural competence: knowledge, attitude and skills
  • To reflect and summarise your end of course learning



Course Days/times (all courses 4 weeks)

  • Tuesday 11:00 – 13:00 Central Campus
  • Thursday 14:00 – 16:00 Central Campus

Teaching Methods and Learning Outcomes

This 4 week on-campus course aims to develop your understanding of effective communication in global contexts.  Each week you will attend a 2 hour workshop.

The course is introductory and practical in nature.  You will work individually and in groups to explore definitions of culture, identity and group ownership. Though practical tasks and reflection, you will examine cultural sensitivity and diverse perspectives and explore the ways communication can be enhanced.  You will employ and evaluate tools for overcoming barriers and building rapport to succeed in global teams, helping you to fulfil your academic potential, and prepare for the global workplace.

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Articulate an understanding of culture drawing on intercultural communication theory and class discussion.
  2. Analyse and examine your intercultural experiences in order to overcome barriers to intercultural understanding.
  3. Recognise the intercultural communicative competencies you bring to groups.
  4. Demonstrate your group working skills and mindsets through classroom practice for application in university, and the global workplace.


All Undergraduate and Postgraduate students currently studying at the University of Edinburgh.

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