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Intercultural Interactions: A Psychological Perspective International Business Program Spring 2020 Semester CEA & UPF Hybrid - Barcelona

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Intercultural Interactions: A Psychological Perspective

Intercultural Interactions: A Psychological Perspective Course Overview


CEA CAPA Partner Institution: CEA CAPA Barcelona Center
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Primary Subject Area: Psychology
Other Subject Area: Cultural Studies
Instruction in: English
Course Code: PSY320
Transcript Source: University of New Haven
Course Details: Level 300
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 45
Prerequisites: 100-level psychology course


This course offers an understanding of how culture influences behavior from a psychological perspective, drawing on the theory and applications from the fields of cultural, intercultural and cross cultural psychology. Psychology offers insight and understanding to intercultural interaction in an increasingly globalized world.

The course presents a unique opportunity for you to combine academic learning with personal development in relation to your experience as sojourner (understand the influence of your culture on your behavior, your intercultural interactions and your cultural adjustment) during your study abroad period. To this end three classes are dedicated to the sojourner experience at relevant intervals in the course, permitting you to integrate your personal experience with psychological theory, thus enabling you to maximize your academic learning through vital experiences. Furthermore, a fourth class, in a similar vein, offers you the opportunity to identify skills acquired during your period of study abroad and how these skills can be used on your return home.

The academic material is divided into five core topics and, where possible, will focus on how the theory applies in Spain/Catalonia. It will emphasize an important aspect of the study of psychology (application to people and real life) and simultaneously heightening your awareness of the culture in which you are living.

The first topic addresses the conceptualization of the abstract nature of culture and complex nature of intercultural communication, concluding with a field study to a Catalan cultural center, enabling you to differentiate Catalan culture from Spanish culture.

Secondly, the role of socialization is introduced, that promotes your self awareness of your own culture; permitting the development of a flexible ethnocentric approach for your cultural adjustment. The concrete example of the complex and contentious issue of the solely Catalan speaking education system serves to illustrate how education in childhood is an important socializing agent.

Intercultural communication is the third topic and here we address verbal and non verbal communication, the intricacies of intercultural communication problems and how these difficulties and misunderstandings can be addressed.

The fourth topic is the complex area of the role of culture in relation to health, both physical and mental, and health behaviors, universalistic and relativistic understanding of illness, and the impact on communication in the client practitioner relationship where cultural background is not shared. We then focus on the well documented mental health problems experienced by immigrants in Europe, including Spain (Ulysses Syndrome) primarily provoked by crossing cultures.

Finally, the fifth topic considers inter-group relations in general (in and out groups, psychological process in development of stereotypes and forms and function of prejudice, and then focuses on relations between groups in Spain (the gypsy community, immigrant community) through a combination of readings, guest speakers and on-site learning.

The course concludes looking forward to the future of intercultural interaction and how you can implement your new intercultural skills in this future in an increasingly globalized world.

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