Intercultural Communication: “Who are you?”

Preparing Think Piece Two

As you prepare for your Think Piece 2, we thought you would appreciate a week to consider how you might expand your ideas for your Think Piece 2 submission. This section will provide you with the course’s Think Piece 2 assignment and four extended content areas to expand upon in your Think Piece 2. Subsequent links to new “chapters” in this unit will provide sample essays/reports, sample outlines, a sample grading rubric, and additional resources to help with the assignment.

Learning Outcomes – Students Will:

  • Read about Think Piece Two.
  • Find links to additional related chapters for Think Piece Two Content (yes, you can quote the materials below for TP 2).
  • Identify new cultures, co-cultures, and personal identities.
  • Consider how to conduct an interview or create a personal connection to a culture or co-culture different than one’s own.
  • Demonstrate their connections to intercultural communication in Think Piece 2.

The “Think Piece 2” Objective

The second learning unit, where we asked the question, “Who are you?”  introduced you to the topics of perception in Chapter 4 , verbal communication in Chapter 5, nonverbal communication in Chapter 6, and listening & compassionate listening in Chapter 7. In Think Piece 2 (posted below and in your course D2L Content Area), you will focus on these areas as you probe a culture, co-culture, or personal/social identity other than your own.

The goal of this unit is to promote the process of acquiring a higher level of intercultural communication competence necessary for professional growth and personal fulfillment. Also, it gives you sharp insight into persons of another culture and an appreciation for one’s role and responsibility within our globalized world. In short, “[c]ollaboration and commerce between nations and across cultures is an unavoidable necessity of modern living. The success of those endeavors hinges upon the competence with which each party interacts with the other. Further, these interactions can be beneficial, not just in terms of each group realizing their respective goals, but also at the level of the individuals involved” (Cavanaugh, 2015, p. 1). Presenting and encouraging the transformative process of learning practical interviewing skills are vital to improving intercultural communication competence. One can “effectively adapt verbal and nonverbal messages to the appropriate cultural context” (Neuliep, 2018, p. 37).

Additional Content to Consider for Think Piece 2


link to a chapter of your choice
Use the links below to learn more about the topics listed. These topics can be explored in your next Think Piece submission.

Link to New OER Books & Creative Commons Content

We have shared materials within this OER textbook to synthesize general concepts central to the study of Intercultural Communication. As you prepare Think Piece #2, additional materials outside this book will be helpful to narrow your topic. Instead of copying and pasting additional materials into our course e-book, we are linking the materials here for your consideration, as listed below. In Weeks 9 & 10 of our Spring 2022 RTCTC COMM 2100 course, you will not need to prepare class discussions or quizzes as Week 9 is “MEA” week in Minnesota, and Week 10 is dedicated to writing Think Piece 2. During Weeks 9 & 10, you will also meet with Lori for your midterm conferences.

Therefore, for Weeks 9 & 10, you will explore the following links to learn more about topics of your choice related to the Think Piece 2 assignment.

Culture Shock


  • Intercultural Communication for the Community College’s chapter on Tourism

Anti Racism

Prejudice & Racism

Our Own Book’s Subsequent Chapters on Specific Co-Cultures

We will return to topics like those listed above and below in the third unit of “What are we doing together?” Please visit these chapters in our OER e-book if your Think Piece 2 relates to these topics.

About Assignments:

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Intercultural communication courses ask students to demonstrate their progress toward intercultural communication competence. To this end, written and oral assignments focus on personal reactions to and acquired knowledge and analysis of certain aspects of another culture relevant to effective intercultural communication. Doing so may lead to some measure of intercultural competence. In the course, discussions posts, written work, and class assignments as students to  1) learn about, and be aware of, one’s own culture and how it has shaped who and what one is so that honest and sound research of another culture to which they do not belong may occur; 2) interview someone from, or closely associated with, that culture and; 3) analyze the process and your intercultural communication.

Review Think Piece Project #2: Who Are You? (200 Points)

You will choose the essay, report, or creative project option for this assignment.

Questions? Just ask Lori. Remember, whichever option you choose, the focus is on intercultural communication and our second question this semester: “Who are you?” In other words, you’ll explore a co-culture, culture, or personal identity different from the one to which you belong.

Note about Honesty, Plagiarism, and Integrity

Again, this assignment concerns YOU and YOUR co-cultures, personal identities, and reflections. Please do not plagiarize; there were three instances of plagiarism just last semester. I use “Turn It In” – which compares your essay to other submissions worldwide. I will see “similarity reports” that show when papers are plagiarized (or copied). Do not jeopardize your grade and integrity – I had to report peers for plagiarism last semester. I created three options so you would find a unique, personal way to express yourself. Each textbox below outlines the assignment choices. You will also find this assignment in D2L’s Content Area.

Think Piece 2 – Personal Narrative Essay Choice

Essay Overview:

If you opt to write an essay, please type a double-spaced essay integrating the course material into personal and observational reflection. This essay will form a personal narrative using first-person “I” language. In this 3+ page essay, use critical thinking skills to assess the formation and understanding of personal identity/co-culture(s) other than your own. This essay should reference appropriate course content (through at least 5 in-text parenthetical references – or quotes from your book) and be written clearly and accurately. Your work in the discussions can be a starting point for this essay. Additionally, one outside research source is needed, and you need to spend at least 2 hours exploring this topic.

Essay Requirements:

  • Topics: Any topic related to the second or third units of exploring co-cultures is acceptable. For Essay 2 you must include 1 outside source and 1 personal experience from at least 1 visit/conversation/exploration into this co-culture. Primary topics include language/verbal communication, nonverbal communication, and culture shock. However, you may explore any topic within the unit.
  • I would like you to spend at least 2 hours experiencing, talking about this co-culture
  • Additional Sample Essay Prompts and Sample Outlines will be shared in D2L.

Sample Essay Topic Prompts:

Sample Essay Prompts:

  • Explore Verbal Communication:
    Language: explore the “nexus” of language, culture, and intercultural communication. Compare and contrast the verbal communication of your own cultural experience and that of the co-culture you explored. In your essay, examine the relationship between culture, verbal communication, and intercultural communication.

    • o Ideas: talk to a newcomer/immigrant/international student/international visitor who is new to our area. Explore how learning/using English has been a challenge/reward for this person. Apply the theory from the book to this person’s experience. Compare/contrast what you experienced/observed to what you researched.
    • o Ideas: use a language you are learning to explore another culture. How do others react? How do you feel using this language? Explore the notions of language in your essay. Compare what you experienced/observed to what you researched.
    • o Ideas: Try to learn a few words from another language. Use these words in a new setting related to this culture. How do others react? How do you feel using this language? Explore the notions of language in your essay. Compare what you experienced/observed to what you researched.
  • Explore Nonverbal Communication:
    Compare and contrast the nonverbal communication of your own cultural experience and that of the co-culture you explored. In your essay, examine the relationship between culture and nonverbal communication. Compare what you experienced/observed to what you researched.

    • o Ideas: spend some silent time observing nonverbal communication, then find a person you feel comfortable with to whom you may ask questions.
    • o Test it out! Join the International Student Club, spend an afternoon volunteering with a group (Coach Rob and Andre Crocket have invited us to work with the boys they mentor), go to a restaurant, learn how to eat in a different way, etc. Have fun – challenge yourself!
    • o Chapter 7 talks about a number of cultural identities. Gender identity is one that is being discussed more in the news. How can you explore this co-culture?
  • Better understand “culture shock:”
    Examine the verbal and nonverbal elements of culture shock. Learn about someone’s journey to a new culture and apply the materials you researched/read from class to this person’s story. Compare/contrast their experience to a situation in which you felt a sense of “culture shock.”
  • Explore contexts where co-cultures communicate – this is a very wide-open idea – see D2L for more ideas.
    • o How do cultures come together in educational contexts?
    • o How do cultures come together in business contexts?
    • o How do cultures come together in sports and athletic contexts?
    • o How do cultures come together in healthcare contexts?
    • o How do cultures come together in art/music contexts? 

Think Piece 2 – Report Choice

Project Overview:

If you opt to write a report, please type a 3+-page summary that integrates the course material into personal and observational reflection. This report will have a first-person voice. In this self-investigation, you will use critical thinking skills to assess the formation, understanding, enactment, and performance of a new co-culture/culture (or personal identity) different than your own. The essay and report options are similar, ; eachhould reference appropriate course content (at least 5 in-text parenthetical references – or quotes from your book) in addition to 1 outside research article and experience exploring the topic (2 hours). Your work in the discussions can be a starting point for the report. Do not plagiarize; I will see it in Turn-It-In.

Report Requirements:

Address the following questions in at least 3 double spaced pages integrating 5 quotes from the book and 1 research article and experience (feel free to look back to the discussions to reply to the questions):

  • What culture, co-culture, or personal identity did you learn more about? How did you research your topic? What did you do to spend at least 2 hours learning more personally? (see links in the Essay choice area for ideas for researching).
  • As you explain and explore this topic, define 3 significant terms from the book’s second half (Lori can help you choose terms if you need help). Explain how these terms help you better understand the culture, co-culture, or personal identity you researched and spent time learning about.
  • What are the norms and communication styles of the topic you explored? How does this compare/contrast to your own culture, co-cultures, or personal identity?
  • Explore the book’s advice in Chapter 11 (see D2L for ideas). How could you use the advice to understand new cultures better? How have you explored this new culture/co-culture these past weeks? What have you learned about others and yourself? How can you use this knowledge in your personal life and professional work?



Think Piece 2 – Creative Project Choice


If you opt to create a special project, first have your idea approved by Lori. You can create a video, interview, vlog, host a LIVE cooking show (or video) with your co-culture members/elders, create a family tree, website, narrated PowerPoint, scrapbook, art, poetry, song, or some other creative project to communicate what you have learned about NEW co-cultures and intercultural communication. The focus is on intercultural communication and addressing the question of Unit 2: “Who are You?” The Creative Project choice should not just be about culture only.

You will need to creatively demonstrate critical thinking skills as you assess the formation, understanding, enactment, and performance of your own identity. You will also need to reference appropriate course content (through at least 5 references – or oral citations/quotes from your book stating the section reference) and communicate clearly and accurately. You may add this analysis/tie to the course content in a written or oral format.

Creative Project Requirements

  1. Meet with Lori on ZOOM or in person to discuss your project.
  2. Submit the “project” along with a written or oral 10-15-minute presentation (video or live with Lori listening) into D2L’s Dropbox. Remember that you need to quote the book 5 times, adding page references and quoting 1 credible outside resource. Also, you need to spend at least 2 hours exploring a new co-culture/culture that includes the following:
    1. How did completing this project help you to learn about the class’s Unit 2  Key terms? Decide upon 5 terms from the book’s second half to talk/write about. Define your terms and explain how they are tied to your Creative Project. Remember to give section & chapter references.
    2. All Think Piece #2 submissions need to refer to 1 outside source (see links in the Essay choice area for ideas). You are also asked to spend 2 hours exploring this new culture/co-culture. What co-culture/culture did you research,  and how does it relate to the dominant culture? How does this project reflect that?
    3. Look to the back of the book to find information on “Intercultural Communication Competence.” Explain what this is and how your project helped/didn’t help you to develop intercultural communication competence.
    4. What communication skills did you practice/learn about while working on this project? It should take about 2 hours to explore this culture.
    5. What have you learned about others and yourself by completing this special project? How can you use this knowledge in your personal life and your work?

Ideas for Think Piece 2


Rochester Diversity Council Photograph, used with permission

The “Who are You Unit” is an intercultural communication learning module providing you a unique opportunity to better understand a given culture outside of, or other than, your own culture. Four primary concepts and skill areas central to intercultural communication and necessary for conducting an intercultural interview are perception and perception-checking, nonverbal communication and verbal communication, and listening. The format used best to impart the four skill areas central to intercultural interviewing includes (1) a definition of the skill area itself; (2) a discussion of the practice or use of this skill area in intercultural communication contexts; (3) questions to consider for the effective use of the skill area; and (4) a prompt or queue for the development of an essay assignment reflecting on the intercultural interview. All told, we consider what is learned from the preparation for the interview, the tenor and substance of the interview itself, and a reflection upon how the interview transforms or deepens an understanding of both the interviewee’s culture and the student’s own culture. The unit contains insightful student observations. The appendix provides helpful comments culled from past student papers. External resources, class activities, and videos will also be provided for an opportunity to further and deepen understanding of the four skill areas (perception, verbal and non-verbal communication, and listening).

First and foremost, intercultural interviews should be conducted in a safe environment enabling both interviewer and interviewee to ask genuine, honest, and respectful questions with the responses given. The interview must be more than a loose exercise in stream-of-consciousness questioning. Hence, preparation for the interview is necessary as questions and prompts will need some connection or relevance to the student’s essay. It helps to read corresponding chapters and sections from the primary textbook and other relevant resources. Please pay attention to the cultural patterns and taxonomies/typologies we read about in Chapter 2. Choose one or more concepts fitting to the essay and include one or more concepts with which you are comfortable, along with concepts including, but not limited to, cultural identity, intercultural verbal and nonverbal communication, perception, and listening.


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Sample questions for an interview may include, in some fashion, how the interviewee experienced a collective vs. an individualistic family structure. Consider the variety of questions one could ask:  Did you feel like a team or more as individuals in your family? Did your country stress what was “good for the country” or “what is good for the individual citizen?” Can this be explained? How were family decisions made, where did you go to college, and who was responsible for what chores

Consider the questions to ask during the interview and the course content one would like to explore. At the same time, one will want to “just listen” without asking questions for some of the interview time. Chapter 7 focused on using “active listening” and “compassionate listening skills,” depending on the context. In the following pages, we offer ideas, samples, and outlines.


Site Visits

Learning about cultures found not abroad or in far-flung areas of the United States but “in one’s backyard” is a valuable means to begin or work towards cultural communication competence. This process can start by visiting local culturally-based or oriented nonprofit organizations, historical buildings and sites, museums, art galleries, restaurants, places of worship, and other sites. This unit explores the many opportunities to learn about co-cultures locally in Minnesota. As the OER book expands, I will add more cultural locations. Please read the Site Visit section of our e-book for ideas on where you can go to learn more about “culture in your backyard.”

Learning more about various cultures “in your backyard” might include visiting nonprofit organizations, historical buildings, museums, art galleries, restaurants, cultural centers, and other sites. You are welcome to develop cultural conversations with the contacts in this unit or find your own contacts.

Learn more about ideas for site visits in the Cultural Highlights Section of our e-book.


Creative Projects

Finally –  a quick comment about creative projects. You are welcome to explore your artistic expressions in an art project. One of your former classmates painted her cultural identity for Think Piece Two – you might follow her lead and paint the vision you have of a co-culture (of course, like your classmate, you’ll need to chat with Lori to determine how you will demonstrate the analysis/research you did in the preparation of this project). You might produce a video. You could create an oral history of relatives who live in another country (we found our Swedish family and our Finnish family and did that!). Creative projects exploring “Who are you?” could even demonstrate/simulate the concepts linked above.





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Developing Intercultural Communication Competence Copyright © 2018 by Lori Halverson-Wente is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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