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The Center for Global Education promotes international education to foster cross-cultural awareness, cooperation and understanding. Living and working effectively in a global society requires learning with an international perspective.

We promote this type of learning by collaborating with colleges, universities and other organizations around the world.
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Orientation Courses

University of the Pacific School of International Studies


Thursdays, 6:00 – 8:50 p.m.
George Wilson Hall
Instructor: Greg Rohlf
Office: WPC 237 (across from the Jacoby Center)
Ph. (209) 946-2804
Office Hours: Tues. 1-2:30 , Wed. 1:00 – 3:00 and by appointment

Course Description
Cross-Cultural Training’s main objective is for you to become a confident, observant, engaged, thoughtful and ultimately successful participant in the life of the city, country and culture where you sojourn next year.Think of this course and your time abroad as one step—perhaps your first step—in a lifetime of cross-cultural growth that will be complete when you become truly bi- or multi-cultural.You will be equally at home in Botswana as in the Bay area, a happy, well-adjusted “me” in Latvia and Los Angeles, an adventurous type with close friends in Fresno and Frankfurt.You will probably find that you are a different person in your new home.Your personality may be somewhat or even very different in another language and culture.You will do things that you were unable to do at home or things you wouldn’t even dream of doing.In short, studying abroad can be a profoundly transformative experience, an incredible breakthrough to a new you who is at home in (at least) two worlds.

On the way to the new you, however, there will no doubt be disappointments, anger, depression, loneliness, and –gasp—the urge to catch the next flight home.This course is designed to acquaint you with the main concepts and skills of cross-cultural communication so that you will be able to diagnose the cultural origins of some of these roadblocks and skillfully channel your energies into the constructive thoughts and actions that will pull you through.Topics include culture itself, how we learn culture, culture shock, verbal and non-verbal communication and how Americans are perceived.

Required Reading available for purchase at university bookstore
Hess, Daniel The Whole World Guide to Culture Learning

Also, you will read and complete portions of:

LaBrack, Bruce, “What’s Up With Culture: Online Training Resources for Study Abroad”at

Also please read a newspaper or magazine that has significant international coverage.New York Times, L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and World Press Review, are good places to start.To really prepare you must read a publication from your destination city and language.

Required Film
L’auberge Espagnole will be on reserve in the Music / AV library. Screen it there or on your own. Complete the writing assignment on the film for Meeting 7.

Class Meetings
This course is designed to help you participate fully in the life of your new home.It’s a personal growth training class as much as it is an academic class.A first step in your cultural journey will be to overcome fears--of embarrassment, getting lost, being tricked, losing your passport, being lonely, whatever.To help steel you for the everyday personal tests of life abroad, such as walking into that cool but somewhat intimidating café by yourself, our meetings will include lots of discussion, lots of constructive dialogue, and yes, lots of sharing.Be open to learning from others, listen carefully and thoughtfully, contribute to discussions, and reflect on who you are and why you are going abroad.In addition to whole class and small discussions, we will also do simulations (structured activities) that will require you to use your imagination.Finally, there will be lecture, in-class writing assignments, quizzes on the reading and other standard forms of college-level academic work.


  1. open mind
  2. perfect attendance
  3. participation, sharing, personal growth
  4. four papers


  1. Participation and in-class work
  2. On-line worksheets from “What’s Up With Culture?”
  3. Writing assignment on “L’auberge Espagnole”
  4. four papers
45 points
55 points
50 points
200 points


  1. You will earn two units for the work you complete in this course. Expect to do the same amount of work that you do for four unit courses.
  1. You begin with 0 points for participation.If you never raise your hand in class and otherwise do not participate, you will earn an “F” for class participation.
  2. Passing this course with a “C” or better is required by the university if you want to study abroad.
  1. Late work is not accepted.

Paper Due Dates

Each of these papers will be between 5-8 pages in length, use footnotes, have a bibliography, and use a formal writing style.Please ask me if you have questions on these general requirements.Prompts will be distributed in class with specific instructions.

Meeting 3       “Interview with an international student at Pacific”
Meeting 5       Study Abroad Workbook       
Meeting 6       “Grocery Store Ethnography”
Meeting 7       Writing Assignment on “L’auberge Espagnole”
Meeting 8       “Questions on my destination”

Students With Disabilities
I would like to hear from anyone who has a documented disability which may require some modification of seating, testing, or other class requirements so that appropriate arrangements may be made.Please see me after class or during office hours.

Course Schedule

Meeting 1
  • Introduction
  • No Reading Assignment
  • Introductions: to the course, to each other, to Study Abroad advisor Eric Tarbell
  • In class: brainstorm questions for “What’s it like to Study Abroad in the U.S.?”(an interview with an international student at Pacific)
  • In class: imaginative (written) ramblings on “What I want to happen during my study abroad;” you will share parts of this with the class
  • In class: imaginative (written) ramblings on “My biggest fears about study abroad;” you will share parts of this with the class

Meeting 2
  • What is culture?
  • Hess, Part A, Ch. 1-2 Culture Learning
  • LaBrack, “What’s up with Culture” unit 1.2, 1.3
  • Do the Iceberg exercise.
  • Make sure you read the Critical Incidents (“I just asked for a napkin” and “Potty stop in the Bush”
  • Complete the exercise in 1.2.2
  • Make sure you know what ethnocentrism, naïve realism and stereotyping are (1.2.3)
  • Complete and print out exercises in 1.3.1, 1.3.2, 1.3.4 and 1.3.5
  • In class: Returned Study Abroad students speak
Meeting 3
  • How do we study culture?
  • Hess, Part A,Ch. 3-4
  • Hess, Part C, I & II
  • Due: Interview with an international student at Pacific
Meeting 4
  • Who are we? How is the U.S. perceived?
  • Hess, Part A, Ch. 5
  • Hess, Part B, VI; 245-247
  • Labrack, 1.4, 1.5
  • Complete all exercises
  • Complete and print out 1.4.3 and 1.4.5
  • Print out 1.4.6 on high and low context cultures
  • In-class: simulation
Meeting 5
  • Culture Shock
  • Hess Part B, V
  • Labrack, 1.7
  • Complete and print out exercise in 1.7.2
  • Due: Workbook
Meeting 6
  • Communication
  • Hess, Part B, II &III
  • Hess, Part C, III
  • Labrack, 1.6
  • Make sure you read the critical incidents
  • Complete and print out exercise in 1.6.3; Have a sense of what your own communication styles are.
  • Complete and print out exercise in 1.6.4
  • Due: Grocery Store Ethnography
Meeting 7
  • More on culture
  • Hess, Part B, I & IV
  • In class: simulation
Meeting 8
  • Packing your bags; leaving baggage at home
  • Hess, Part D
  • Due: Paper IV “Questions on my destination”

  • In class presentations by International Programs, Housing, Student Accounts, and Financial Aid