Intercultural Training Expertise Certification

The Intercultural Training Expertise Certification (ITEC) program establishes and advances the quality of intercultural training in the international sphere (e.g., global relocation, multi-national teams, international education), by (1) helping interculturalists communicate their level of preparedness to do intercultural training in the international sphere, and (2) helping those who hire interculturalists assess the preparedness of trainers.

Certification Overview

Over the last 25 years, The Interchange Institute has been training and mentoring interculturalists around the globe, including almost 500 trainers who have completed the Crossing Cultures with Competence training of trainers program, and about 200 interculturalists who are part of its Culture Chat community. In addition, the Institute recently completed an industry-wide survey of how emerging and established interculturalists have built and nurtured their careers.

In short, we have a deep understanding of how established intercultural trainers have successfully built their practices, and of the needs of emerging interculturalists who are looking for guidance about how to build the expertise that is expected of them.

While national or international certification programs exist in many related professions (for example, coaching, language teaching, education, mental health, relocation), this same structured approach does not exist in the intercultural field. This is, perhaps, understandable because the field exists at the intersection of many sectors (corporate, education, medicine, missions, military, foreign service, humanitarian aid) and many national cultures’ educational systems.

The Interchange Institute’s Intercultural Expertise Certification (ITEC) program is designed to fill this gap. It has been developed in consultation with senior interculturalists and those who hire them. It uses the knowledge we have gained from our community of new and established trainers.

The ITEC is not a requirement for hiring, and hiring agencies may have requirements beyond those included in the ITEC (for example, intercultural living experience, masters degrees, years of experience). Rather, the ITEC is a way for interculturalists to signal their readiness to offer services efficiently and with transparency, confirmed by an independent non-profit organization, and those who hire intercultural trainers to have increased confidence in their hiring, backed up by our certification.

Certification Process

The ITEC is designed to evaluate an applicant’s expertise in four general Skill and Knowledge domains based on evidence of accomplished practice. The ITEC applicant must provide evidence in an ePortfolio for each of the four domains:

  • Cultural Concepts and Competencies
  • Training Expertise
  • Understanding and Awareness of Bias
  • Professional and Ethics Issues

They must also provide evidence in an ePortfolio of their preparedness in one or more specialty area(s):

  • Personal and/or Workplace Support for International Living
  • Multicultural Work Team
  • Cultural Aspects of Language and Communication
  • Intercultural Coach
  • Other

Applications will be evaluated by the ITEC Review Board, which includes The Interchange Institute’s board members and outside senior members skilled and qualified in one or more ITEC specialty areas. All have been trained on the certification process and how to apply scoring rubrics to ePortfolio assessment.

While the certification review process occurs quarterly, some applicants may choose to open an ePortfolio and collect evidence over time, demonstrating competency as they acquire it. The application payment is not due until the point of submission.

The certification process includes a review of evidence for four general domains and one specialty area. Additional specialty areas can be added for an additional cost.

In recognition of the fact that interculturalists gain their expertise in many different ways, the application process allows for a range of options to demonstrate expertise. Applicants who believe they have gained important insight and skill in a domain in a way that is not listed here are encouraged to include that, with a rationale, in their portfolio.

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Nicholas Dunn

Community Curator

Nicholas Dunn is an independent consultant and trainer who helps diverse teams thrive by building intercultural competence and cohesion. As the Community Curator for The Interchange Institute (TII), Nicholas grows and supports a vibrant community of interculturalists. He helps members of the Culture Chat, Interculturalist Circle, and Crossing Cultures with Competence Alumni groups connect, network, share best practices, and thrive in their intercultural careers, as well as guides the direction of TII to meet the needs of the community.

Nicholas began his own intercultural career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in western China, where he and his wife helped train future middle school English teachers. When he wasn’t teaching, practicing Mandarin, and travelling, he helped coordinate the English library, movie nights, teacher trainings, and more. 

Originally from the panhandle of Florida, Nicholas studied history at the University of Florida. He has a background in customer service in a number of retail roles, including coffee shop management. He also recruited, trained, and worked alongside volunteers for three years at a small non-profit in Gainesville, Florida.

In his eight years at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign International Student and Scholar Services office, he not only advised international students, but assessed, trained, and coached intercultural mindsets and skills for thousands of faculty, staff, and student leaders. In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, he provided intercultural mentoring and assessment support for students in the Global Leaders Program and co-led their short-term education abroad program in Medellín, Colombia. 

Dr. Tasha Arnold is an experienced leader and researcher in the field of education specializing in cross-cultural training, transition support, and program development for schools, universities, and global teams. She co-founded The Academic Achievement Bureau where she worked with international schools and universities conducting research on their organization and providing services to aid intercultural understanding, transition adjustment, and student achievement. She is currently the Executive Director of The Interchange Institute, a NEASC and CIS school accreditor, and serves on the board of The Namibia Project.  

Sample Questions:

  • I’m interested in working with international schools, universities, NGO’s, and not-for-profit organizations – How should I get started and who do I contact?
  • How do I promote and market my services as an intercultural trainer?
  • What are some tips and tricks for working with multicultural and global teams?
  • How do I write a proposal that stands out from the competition?

Terri McGinnis, M.S.

Senior Trainer​

Terri is an independent cross-cultural trainer specializing in helping families moving overseas, assisting those coming from overseas to live and work in the U.S., and providing group business briefings on China, Brazil and USA. Terri has worked with large automotive companies, automotive suppliers, oil companies, national office supply and furniture companies, the construction industry, electronic companies, IT companies, chemical companies, not to mention many other national and international companies.

A well-read and traveled individual, Terri has lived in and navigated different cultures successfully. Ms. McGinnis lived with her family as an expatriate in Beijing, China. In China, she conducted cross-cultural training programs, studied Mandarin, worked for the International School of Beijing providing classes to their staff, and provided Pilates training to individuals in the expatriate community of Beijing.

In addition to her overseas experience in China, Ms. McGinnis also lived with her family as an expatriate in Brazil for three years where she studied Portuguese. In addition to her language studies, she worked for Fiske School teaching English as a second language to Brazilian nationals. While in Brazil, the International School of Curitiba engaged her services for curriculum and staff development.

Prior to her international assignments, Ms. McGinnis was a high school teacher teaching vocational business skills. She also has eight years of experience in the automotive industry working in various HR positions.

Ms. McGinnis graduated with a Master of Science degree in Instructional Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

Her experiences in Brazil and China have taught her to appreciate the world’s diversity and to cross cultures successfully. Her hobbies are reading, sea kayaking, paddle boarding and travel. She has two daughters attending university. She actively volunteers for her a local national club swim team.

Tasha Arnold, Ed.D.

Executive Director

Dr. Tasha Arnold is an experienced leader and researcher in the field of education specializing in cross-cultural training and development for schools, universities, and multicultural teams. As the Executive Director of The Interchange Institute (TII), Tasha is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of TII, while also serving as an evaluator for the Intercultural Training Expertise Certification (ITEC) Board and being actively involved in the training of emerging and experienced interculturalists through the Crossing Cultures with Competence Train the Trainer program.

Tasha is a certified teacher and principal/head of school and accredits schools worldwide with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and Council for International Schools.

Prior to her work at the Interchange Institute, Tasha held positions in both public and private schools and co-founded The Academic Achievement Bureau where she worked with international schools and universities conducting research on their organization and provided services to aid intercultural understanding, transition adjustment, and student and staff well-being.

Tasha has directed several research studies in the UK and Qatar on educators’ experiences and perceived needs with regards to transition at their international school in order to improve the transition experience for educators, students and families in these cultural contexts. These findings have helped her to develop and deliver school-wide transition and intercultural development programs.

Originally from the USA, Tasha relocated in 2011 to the UK and currently resides with her husband near London. She serves on the board of The Namibia Project Charity.

Anne P. Copeland, Ph.D.

Founder of The Interchange Institute

Dr. Copeland is a clinical psychologist with expertise in family and cultural transition. During her tenure as Executive Director of The Interchange Institute, she provided cross-cultural training for individuals and families moving to and from the United States. She also trained almost 500 interculturalists around the world to deliver tailored, individualized cross-cultural orientation programs through the Crossing Cultures with Competence program that she developed.

Dr. Copeland has written several books on families and transition (Studying Families, Sage 1991, Separating Together 1997, and In Their Own Voice 2011), and has authored over 90 research articles, chapters, and professional presentations.

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 many research studies on expatriate families’ experience, including multinational in-depth analyses of the social, familial, and personal aspects of moving to a new country, including a focus on the personal and family side of international short-term assignments, the role of one’s home – its design and layout – on one’s expatriate experience, on the challenges of moving to a country that is perceived as very similar, the experiences of high school exchange host families, and the ways in which having experienced being different as a child has an impact on the expatriate experience. Recent work focuses on how interculturalists have built and nurtured their careers.

Dr. Copeland lives with her husband in Boston, MA, and Barters Island, ME.