Inter-culturally Speaking (Online)


We often interact with people from different cultural backgrounds and in this globalized world we increasingly work with people from different cultures and traditions.

There are many exciting opportunities for personal development and professional advancement.  Yet making the most of them can present a significant challenge: many questions arise - How far are we the products of our own culture(s)? Are we only who we think we are? or are we also who others think we are? Why is it that what I think I said is not what my friends/team/clients/target audience heard? What is the significance of corporate culture? How far can we talk of ‘national’ characteristics? Are we born prejudiced? How can I best reach and work harmoniously with those from other cultures?

If you have asked yourself these or similar questions, this course is the one for you. It provides you with practical tools to:

  • think about and explore your own cultural identities from different perspectives  
  • take account of different personality types and cultural characteristics to allow you to develop a clearer perception of others and of how they in turn may perceive you
  •  explore the implications of cultural diversity in relation to the human need for group cohesion

Working with such practical tools will give you the insights that come from working with your own experience and learning to reflect critically on it

The stimulating input (readings, videos) will help you understand different cultural notions of time, space, interaction, context, hierarchy, appropriacy, expectations, and the power of (non-verbal) language while the activities will give you the opportunity to develop skills for effective intercultural communication, making you a more confident and valuable participant in diverse groups so enabling you to live and work creatively with others from different cultures – and that means most people!

Engaging with this course can be life-changing and transformative.

Programme details

1. My culture myself? What is culture anyway?

  • Notions of culture: How we perceive ourselves as members of different cultures
  • Definitions from American anthropology
  • ‘Software of the mind’
  • Problem solving
  • Difficulties in defining culture
  • National cultures, subcultures and small cultures
  • My culture, myself?

2. Four-letter descriptions of personality: Typological approaches to personality

  • Historical background
  • Carl G. Jung’s psychological types
  • Extraversion and introversion
  • The uniqueness of individuals
  • The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  • The components of the indicator
  • Uses and potential abuses of the MBTI

3. The limits of my language, the limits of my world?: Language thought and social identity

  • Language and cultural identity
  • The politics of language
  • The politics of language as reflected in language policies
  • From linguistic determinism to linguistic relativism to universalism
  • Contemporary views
  • Language and social identity
  • Linguistic accommodation

4. What you think I mean is not what I think I said: Gender and social class as realised in social interaction

  • Language and social class
  • The importance of pronunciation in English
  • Sex and gender
  • Gender roles
  • How are gender roles realised in everyday language? Sexist language
  • Do men and women speak differently? Lakoff and Fishman, the pioneer researchers
  • Do men and women speak differently? The populariser, Deborah Tannen

5. I’m late, I’m late. For a very important date: The relative importance of time, space, context and nonverbal communication in different cultures

  • Personal notions of time
  • Monochronic and polychronic cultures
  • Edward Hall
  • High and low context cultures
  • Proxemics
  • Nonverbal communication
  • The impact of Hall’s work

6. Mexicans dance on their hats: Geert Hofstede’s ‘dimensions’ of national cultures

  • Dimensions of national cultures
  • Power distance
  • Individualism
  • Masculinity
  • Uncertainty avoidance
  • Further developments
  • Difficulties encountered

7. Born prejudiced?: Cultural cohesion, prejudice and stereotypes of ‘the other’

  • Cultural conditioning
  • Our need to belong
  • Social cohesion
  • Difficulties in perceiving the other
  • Prejudice
  • Stereotypes
  • Back to free word association

8. Meeting the other: From culture shock, to misunderstandings, to acculturation

  • Inter-cultural encounters
  • Stages of adaptation to a new culture
  • Acculturation
  • Pluri-cultural identities
  • Immigration
  • The narcissism of small differences
  • Mediated inter-cultural encounters

9. Mind your manners: Business cultures and doing business in a globalised world

  • Corporate cultures
  • Cultural attitudes and assumptions in hiring
  • Corporate culture and change
  • Inter-cultural business training
  • Notable inter-cultural trainers and materials
  • The importance of foreign language learning
  • Global cross-pollination and its cultures

10. Do as the Romans do – or try to understand their behaviour from their point of view: Inter-cultural competencies, developing a third perspective, what makes an inter-cultural mediator

  • A brief history of inter-cultural communication as a field of study
  • Inter-cultural communicative competence
  • Becoming inter-culturally competent
  • Multiple intelligences
  • Building relationships with people from other cultures within our national culture
  • Seeking points of similarity
  • Educating the inter-cultural communicators of tomorrow

We strongly recommend that you try to find a little time each week to engage in the online conversations (at times that are convenient to you) as the forums are an integral, and very rewarding, part of the course and the online learning experience.


Credit Application Transfer Scheme (CATS) points 

To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £30 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online. If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to register and pay the £30 fee. 

See more information on CATS point

Coursework is an integral part of all online courses and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education, you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee. 


Digital credentials

All students who pass their final assignment, whether registered for credit or not, will be eligible for a digital Certificate of Completion. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so. 

Please note that assignments are not graded but are marked either pass or fail. 


Description Costs
Course Fee £385.00
Take this course for CATS points £30.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:


Concessionary fees for short courses


Ms Marisol de Lafuente Duff

Inspiring, experienced teacher, Marisol has (co) authored many courses for English and Spanish as foreign languages. Prizes - Duke of Edinburgh Award, Commendation - Foreign Language Awards 

Expertise in inter-culturalism arises from psychology background, foreign language teaching experience, and needs of BA students’ study abroad periods. Co- designed Intercultural Learning Module (King’s College).

Course aims

The course will enable students to:

  • Think critically and engage in informed discussion of theoretical principles and key psychological and cultural concepts.
  • Appreciate individual psychological differences.
  • Understand the importance of coexisting cultural differences in the early 21st century.
  • Appreciate and critically evaluate their own cultures.
  • Recognize the nature and implications of cultural diversity.
  • Apply strategies which will enable them to be effective intercultural communicators.
  • Research a topic, extracting and synthesising key information and drawing informed conclusions from analysis of theoretical concepts and their own observations.
  • Work creatively and flexibly with others from similar and different cultures.
  • Work with a degree of autonomy, self-discipline and time management.

Teaching methods

Although this course requires understanding of theoretical concepts, it is also an experiential course which requires students to reflect on their own cultural identities, beliefs and perceptions, and at times to share these reflections with their fellow students.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students will be expected to understand:

  • Salient theoretical notions of culture and identity.
  • The process of acculturation.
  • Fundamental psychological concepts, e.g. conscious and unconscious, Jungian typology.
  • The role of language in the shaping of thought and social identity.
  • Models of culture classification.
  • The principles of intercultural competence.

By the end of this course students will be expected to have gained the following skills:

  • Thinking reflectively about of their own cultures, behaviours and beliefs.
  • Evaluating practices and products from multiple cultural perspectives.
  • Ability to critique theoretical positions.
  • Ability to think inter-culturally.
  • Applying strategies which will enable them to be effective intercultural communicators.
  • Working productively with others from similar and different cultural backgrounds.

Assessment methods

You will be set two pieces of work for the course. The first of 500 words is due halfway through your course. This does not count towards your final outcome but preparing for it, and the feedback you are given, will help you prepare for your assessed piece of work of 1,500 words due at the end of the course. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

English Language Requirements

We do not insist that applicants hold an English language certification, but warn that they may be at a disadvantage if their language skills are not of a comparable level to those qualifications listed on our website. If you are confident in your proficiency, please feel free to enrol. For more information regarding English language requirements please follow this link:


Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an Enrolment form for short courses | Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

Level and demands

FHEQ level 4, 10 weeks, approx 10 hours per week, therefore a total of about 100 study hours.

IT requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet. You will also need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended minimum computer specification.