In Their Own Voice: Intercultural Meaning in Everyday Stories

$12.95

A collection of stories written by people who have moved to the United States from another country and culture. In the authentic, personal, everyday moments portrayed here and the commentary that accompanies each story, we gain precious access to the thinking and action behind the value differences that reveal themselves at work and in our daily lives. The writers describe the universal experience of those who find themselves in a new country, and reveal the intricacies and challenges of living and working across cultures. Whether you are an educator, learner, or trainer, these stories are a valuable tool for understanding the process of cultural value formation and intercultural transition.

This is the perfect book to promote conversation about cultural transitions, for anyone involved in working and living across cultures. Members of multicultural workgroups, expatriates moving to a new country, educators trying to understand and communicate what cultural differences look like in real life – all of these have used these stories as a rich base for learning. As Copeland and Lombardi write in the book’s Introduction:

On the surface, many of these stories are about what happens between a mother and a young child in a school classroom or neighborhood, so if you work with students or adults you may wonder if they’re for you. But this is exactly where cultural differences in values and attitudes are formed – in the early family and school environment that supports children and prepares them to work within the value system of their culture. Nobody thinks cultural differences are in-born; so where and how were they learned? What do parents of young children actually say and do that makes their children value collectivism as opposed to individualism? What values are teachers trying to instill in their students, as preparation for success in their culture – and how do they actually do it? It is in the countless daily responses to homework, birthday parties, neighbors, shopkeepers, and waitresses that children absorb the implicit messages about what their family and culture values.  It is one thing to memorize a list of cultural differences, but quite another, richer thing to understand how they were created, and to see with clarity how these values all fit together – in short, to see another world through a mother’s eyes. These essays are a window into that process of cultural value formation.

In these stories, we also get a clear narration from expatriates navigating a new and confusing culture, adult children reflecting on their relationships with parents and parents-in-law, sojourners traveling back and forth between their own and their host culture and juggling new values as they go, language learners struggling with how to communicate their interesting and complex ideas. There is something here for anyone who has crossed cultures, or wants to understand or explain to others what it’s like.

These stories were all written by Asian writers living in the US … As such, they provide an opportunity to explore differences and similarities among Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese cultures as they intersect with the US American one.  But the cultural values revealed in these stories are hardly specific to Asia and the US. Individualism and collectivism, social hierarchy and respect, modesty, high and low context, face and harmony – these are concepts that are important to understand all around the world. And the experience of missing home, seeing one’s culture through new eyes, worrying about one’s children’s values – these are familiar and core to anyone living in a new country.

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alt="Nick Dunn Community Curator for The Interchange Institute"

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?
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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.

alt="Tasha Arnold Executive Director of The Interchange Institute"

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.