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Cultural • Orientation • Reflection • Engagement

CORE Seminars

Pre-Departure Series

An Introduction to Cross-Cultural Miscommunication

What is communication?  This seminar explores the different ways and reasons people communicate, and how culture affects the way we understand what happens when communication and, above all, miscommunication between people occurs.  While this session will not transform you into a flawless multicultural translator by any means, it will introduce you to a rich body of knowledge and give you a better sense of how to navigate in unfamiliar places.

Identity in Translation

Living in different cultures affects who we are.  This seminar provides a space to understand how people are constantly re-building their identities.  We explore how individuals who have lived in different cultures negotiate multiple identities and create meaningful biographies.  Our goal is to discuss the challenges that people face in the process of bargaining with different life experiences and offer some tools on how to cope with frustration and isolation.

Writing to See, Seeing to Write

Whether in an intercultural context, or just on a day-to-day basis, everyday spaces such as streets, sidewalks, intersections, and cafes prove to be rich with signification, if we can just stop for a moment and actually see them attentively. This seminar introduces some of the experimental writing techniques employed by French author Georges Perec in order to equip students to use creative writing as a means of gaining new visibility onto the everyday spaces in which they find themselves immersed. This seminar is part indoor presentation and discussion, part outdoor fieldwork.

Making and Unmaking Stereotypes

Most of us "know" that stereotypes are "bad," in that they serve as a source of misunderstanding and alienation between people, and we shouldn't be caught making use of them.  But what alternatives do we have when personally encountering unfamiliar individuals, cultural conditions, and situations?  In this seminar, we will attempt to outline for ourselves the often blurry distinctions between cultural stereotypes and generalizations, as well as launching investigations into means of working with and against both.

During Abroad Course

Making Culture Visible While Studying Abroad

CORE is a short course that wraps around your program or project abroad with CORE seminars and field assignments before, during, and after fieldwork abroad.  The goal is to complement the focus of your program or project with practice and reflection on transferrable cross-cultural concepts and skills.  We use your experience and the activities, journals, and photos you already plan to make as the basis of work.  We focus on translation and adaptation.

Life After Abroad Series

Culture Shock --> Cultural Insight

We designed this seminar especially for people who have spent time outside their comfort zone (here or abroad), and who have stories of mishaps, missteps, and misunderstandings to tell.  Join us for a hands-on, expressive workshop that encourages you to make your way playfully from first impressions to a deeper sense of understanding.  We invite you to make your way from personal stories of shock and awe to a more useful, nuanced narrative that can become a valuable asset in your studies, your job search, and beyond.

What is Globalization?

This seminar discusses "globalization" and related concepts that are frequently used but much misunderstood.  Our goal is to sort through the imprecision and gain a basic proficiency with a method for understanding the dynamics of globalization that have taken world cultures (including our own) and intertwined them on an unprecedented level.  From trade and production, to tourism and social media, students analyze global processes and develop a framework for understanding their own lived engagements, whether near or far.

Staying Abroad

By popular demand, we have created a seminar for people who are planning to pursue a long-term career and residence in another country and language. We will examine complex challenges that emerge, including issues of identity, relationships, culture, and communication, when there is no clear "return" date for your experience abroad.  We will also discuss strategies for addressing these complex challenges. International students who are thinking of staying in the U.S. may also benefit from attending this seminar.