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
- 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
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 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 Boston, MA, and Barters Island, ME.