From March 11-23, 2012, I took on the role of visiting professor at the School of English of the Beijing International Studies University, in China. (In China, intercultural communication is often viewed as an extension of foreign language training in order to ensure that students achieve intercultural communicative competence.
As part of my responsibilities there, I taught a graduate seminar on research methods, and also delivered several presentations.
On March 13 and 16, I presented on the topic of “The Social Construction of Identity.” On March 20, the topic was “The History of Intercultural Communication in the United States.
On March 21, I participated in a workshop on “Training for Intercultural Competence in the United States; Prof. JIANG Fei, Director of the Department of Communication, and also Director of the Center for World Media Studies, at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, was the respondent. He and his wife, Dr. Viola Kuo HUANG, introduced my husband and me to a new form of Chinese buffet one evening.
My sincere thanks to Dr. HONG Liang, Associate Dean of the School of English and an intercultural communication scholar, for inviting me, organizing all of the events, including multiple meals with faculty and graduate students, and ensuring the success of the visit. Dr. GU Guoping (Gordon), from the American Studies department, helped with logistics ahead of time, and offered the official welcome when I arrived. Dr. David YU, Chair of the Department of Intercultural Communication, met with me over several days, and then provided the official farewell when I left. Dr. Ivory Juan ZHANG of the same department, participated in several events. Dr. Belinda Zou of the School of International Education not only attended most of the graduate seminar and the other lectures, but also volunteered to play tour guide and showed off parts of Beijing I had not yet visited.
Lu Qinsha (Emily), a master’s level student studying intercultural communication, was my guide and translator for the entire visit. To Emily and all of the other students, I hope you learned enough about research methods to have an easier time preparing your masters’ theses! To the faculty members, I look forward to continuing the connection in the future.
While in Beijing, although it was spring, there was one cold night, and it snowed. This was the view from the campus hotel (from the 18th floor) of the campus. The next morning students were having snowball fights!
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director
Center for Intercultural Dialogue
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