Exams and Final project

here’s a description of the lettorato work, and the written and oral exams & project work.

PER IL CORSO DI LAUREA MAGISTRALE IN COMUNICAZIONE INTERCULTURALE D’IMPRESA II anno (Dott.ssa Elizabeth Ferguson, betsypontellini@yahoo.com)

The English 2 course is designed to help students take a closer look at the concept of intercultural communication and culture shock.   During the course, students will be required to read and discuss the text:

“River Town”   by Peter Hessler (any edition)

During class, we will be examining how a country’s history  and geography  affect people’s behaviour, through reading and video work regarding China, the Amazon Basin, South Africa, India, and other countries. For the ORAL EXAM,  students will be required to prepare a final project.: an intercultural training dossier.

WRITTEN EXAM:   Students will be required to write an essay on an intercultural theme, using the  information gained in their two years of intercultural studies.    Students will find the course text and materials discussed in class and the information on the blog useful in  developing their  essay.

FINAL PROJECT for discussion at the  ORAL EXAM:

For your final project (to be brought with you and discussed at the oral exam), you will need to prepare a short dossier which could be used as the starting point for an intercultural training course.

Students  will be given the choice of working in teams to prepare a dossier on another English-speaking country of their choice (for example, South Africa)  using the books and films provided alongside their own research, or of doing individual projects.

In the case of individual project work, the project may regard either China or South Africa OR a country from the language are they are specialising in (a French-, German-, Russian-,  or Spanish-speaking country.  Each student will be asked to  use  the information they have gleaned from various media (for example, from River Town and other materials viewed or read during the academic year)   to  prepare a  training manual  designed  to help  prepare a new graduate for work abroad.

Should you decide to use ‘River Town’ as your starting point, your Dossier will be designed to help  an Italian  language instructor  who will be working  at the Fuling Teacher’s  College.    Additional information regarding the types of information to include in the dossier  can be found below.

These materials can be in the form of a written report, a video presentation, a PowerPoint presentation + manual…

You will probably opt to not give information on all of the different topics listed below:  you may not have information on some aspects, and others may not be pertinent.   What you need to try to do is give as complete and detailed info as possible on what you feel are the most important things to know in order to minimize culture-shock and adapt and work successfully.  I suspect that most students will write about ten pages.

In any case:  you can also see this project work as study and preparation for the oral exam:  when you’ve thought carefully about one of the two books and prepared your dossier, you should be well prepared and ready to face the oral exam with confidence !

Here are some examples of the kind of information generally included in cross-cultural training materials.



  • understanding your own culture and how it affects your behaviour
  • comparing home and host cultures
  • defining culture shock and how to live through it


  • What to take
  • setting up your household
  • the local economy
  • visa and passport requirements
  • residence and work documents
  • legal requirements
  • housing
  • utilities/appliances
  • electric current
  • weights and measurements
  • mail, e-mail, telephone, cables, faxes
  • transportation
  • banking
  • insurance
  • schools
  • currency
  • climate / weather
  • legal holidays
  • servants and services
  • survival needs
  • making friends (for children, too)
  • establishing a routine
  • finding where to buy / obtain what you need
  • entertaining guests
  • leisure activities
  • how family members can support each other
  • maintaining old ties and friendships
  • security and safety
  • special issues for women (safety, hygiene, health care)


  • demographics
  • ethnic composition
  • local and national history, geography, politics, economics
  • education system
  • religious / philosophical beliefs
  • inventions and scientific achievements
  • sports and games
  • places of scenic and cultural interest
  • local traditions



  • This includes gestures and body language


  • Assessing special health needs
  • Learning where to find doctors, dentists, etc.
  • Know which prescription and nonprescription medicines to take


  • This includes business and nonbusiness situations



  • National character and traits in host country
  • Values
  • Implicit cultural assumptions
  • Thought processes




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