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About Us

A Word From Our Director....

Why I Started The Interchange Institute

In 1988 I moved from Boston to London with my two-year-old daughter and my accompanying spouse. At the time I was a full-time university professor. I was off to be the academic advisor for our study abroad program for a year while my husband wrote a book. It had promised to be a plum assignment but a series of interlinked problems made it a bit of a lemon. Happily, our short sojourn turned into a career-changing adventure for me, for when I came back, I found I wanted to do something different, something important with my intercultural experience.

I learned many things that year:

  • Living in a new culture is easier if you understand its values and history. I was stunned by how different the US and UK cultures were. But after all, 400 years of separate history is a lot of years of separate history. Still, I thought, if this cultural transition was so hard for me, how do people from much more different cultures possibly manage?
  • People from two cultures will work together more easily if both recognize the differences and try to learn from each other. All that year, I was scrambling to understand the cultural differences I was feeling. The most helpful exchanges came from British colleagues who were also interested in the ways our cultures had diverted.
  • You can do a much better job living in a new country if your spouse is happy. I had all sorts of problems to deal with in my job in London, but my husband was having a ball. He kept our house going. He took our daughter to every London park. And he was a valuable sounding board for me.

I founded The Interchange Institute in 1997, with the goal of using my psychological and research expertise to increase knowledge about intercultural transitions, and then turning that knowledge into practical products for real people. You'll see the fruits of my London experience throughout our work - in our research on accompanying spouses, in our materials about values and history for newcomers to the United States, and, perhaps most importantly, in our various attempts to educate both newcomers and hosts about the challenges this global world poses.

I have loved this work since I began it. But since September 11, 2001, I have felt its urgency. The work of smoothing intercultural transitions has never been so critical. The work of helping others understand us and of coming to understand others is our mission.

 

     
anne

Anne P. Copeland, Ph.D.

Founder and Executive Director of The Interchange Institute

 

 
 

Dr. Copeland is a licensed psychologist with expertise in cultural transition and clinical psychology. She provides cross-cultural training for individuals and families moving to and from the United States. She also trains others to deliver tailored, individualized cross-cultural orientation programs through her Crossing Cultures with Competence program.


Dr. Copeland has written several books on topics of families and transition (Studying Families, Sage 1991, and Separating Together, 1997), and has authored over 90 research articles, chapters, and professional presentations. She writes extensively for people moving into or out of the United States, including Newcomer's Almanac, a newsletter for international newcomers to the United States published monthly since 1994, Understanding American Schools, Global Baby, A Smooth Beginning, and other support materials.


She developed and conducts International Writers' Club meetings for international newcomers in her community; a collection of these essays about cultural differences (In Their Own Voice) has been used to enhance both Americans’ and newcomers’ understanding of the intercultural experience.


Prior to founding The Interchange Institute in 1997, Dr. Copeland was Associate Professor of Psychology at Boston University, where she conducted research and research supervision in psychological aspects of family process assessment, ethnicity, cultural influences, immigration, development, developmental disabilities and affective development. During her tenure at the University, she relocated with her family to work in London in 1988, where she was the academic advisor for Boston University's British Programmes.


Dr. Copeland has directed several research studies on expatriate families’ experience, including multinational in-depth analyses of the social, familial, and personal aspects of moving to a new country. Recent work focuses on the personal and family side of international short-term assignments, on the role of one’s home – its design and layout – on one’s expatriate experience, and on the challenges of moving to a country that is perceived as very similar.


Dr. Copeland lives with her husband in Brookline, MA.

 


Margaret Alexander
Director of Administration

alexander@interchangeinstitute.org

Margaret joined The Interchange Institute as Director of Administration in July 2004. Her responsibilities include operations, order fulfillment, customer service, and database management. She also assists with research projects and marketing initiatives.

Margaret graduated from Stanford University with a B.A in psychology. and has a M.Ed from University of Vermont in counseling. Margaret developed her office management skills while working for many years for BBN (Genuity) in Cambridge, MA. Her last position with Genuity was as Manager of Customer and Information Services in the Facilities Department.

Margaret lives in Newton with her husband and three dogs.

 

 
catherine

 


Catherine Wechsler
Graphic Designer

Catherine first joined The Interchange Institute as a graphic design intern in November 2003. She was an intern for a year, during which time she designed many of the pieces The Interchange Institute continues to use to this day. Today she works at the Interchange Institute as a part-time graphic designer and consultant.

Catherine graduated from Clark University in May 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, concentrating in graphic design and photography. After interning at The Interchange Institute, she accepted an offer from Endicott College in Beverly, MA to work in their publications department. Catherine continues to work for Endicott as one of their in-house graphic designers and the primary staff photographer.

 
marissa"

 


Marissa Lombardi, Ph.D.
Intercultural Associate

Prior to joining The Interchange Institute, Marissa spent five years in Rome, Italy, where she developed and directed an English language and culture program at an international bank. She also served as a cross-cultural trainer and coach to the bank's senior management. In 2007, Marissa returned to Boston where she completed a master of arts in Intercultural Relations at Lesley University, and a doctorate in international education at Northeastern University. Marissa recently returned to Italy to serve as Dean of Students at Lorenzo de Medici Institute. Previously, she taught cross-cultural understanding and Italian culture and business practices in the Global Studies Department at Bentley University. Her research explores the acquisition of intercultural competence in a variety of contexts.