Site Index The Interculture Project
ICP Home Page
ICP Outcomes
Module: AIC
Syllabus Content
Diary & Portfolio 
Introduction to Cultural Identity
Stereotypes & Intercultural Incidents
Sociolinguistic Awareness & Competence
Expectations, motivation, objectives


Module: Acquiring Intercultural Competence


Syllabus Content Area 3

2 sessions, 4 hours

Stereotypes and Intercultural Incidents

This area consists of 2 topics:

Topic One


The topic of stereotypes has already been addressed in Area 2; the activities below relate more specifically to the SARA and STEFE databases. 

Aims and objectives:

  • to challenge views which may hinder intercultural competence

  • to assess the usefulness of certain stereotypes

  • to assess, on the basis of others’ experiences (SARA and STEFE databases) the role of stereotyping in the process of acculturation

Learning Activities

Reflect on stereotypes about the "British"

  • what are they linked to? where do they originate from?

  • have they changed over the years?

  • how much do they vary according to the nationality / cultural grouping of the onlooker / outsider?

Reflect on stereotypes about people from other countries / other communities

  • are the images positive? negative? neutral?

  • are they linked to positive experiences? to fear?

  • are they linked to personal or second hand experience?

Look for stereotypical representations of British and other nations in SARA and STEFE databases (suggested as preparation activity in students' own time)

  • make a list

  • to what extent do the representations correspond to reality?

  • does a shift occur in the attitude of the student during the Year Abroad?

  • to what extent do stereotypical representations in ICP databases correspond to your own?

  • to what extent do the representations correspond to reality?


SARA and STEFE databases: look at stereotypical representations made whilst students are on different placements (study, assistantship, student teacher, work placement): to what extent do the focuses for stereotypical representations change? (suggested as preparation activity in students' own time)

  • is there evidence that stereotyping is detrimental or useful in certain situations (e.g. at work)?


Topic Two

Intercultural Incidents and Quizzes

Aims and objectives:

  • to enable students to identify causes of cultural misunderstandings

  • to demonstrate the need for observing others in interaction and for critically analysing culturally defined situations

  • to foster greater sensitivity towards "otherness"

Learning Activities

Explore the sample intercultural incidents on ICP website 

  • what are the intercultural issues raised by these incidents?

  • some incidents have suggested answers and some do not -
    which do you prefer? why? 

Research the foreign country’s norms and expectations (visit library, Modern Languages Resource Centre, websites etc.) 
(suggested as preparation activity in students' own time)

  • if you have encountered intercultural incidents, can you say what kind of intercultural issues were prevalent?


Search ICP databases for experiences of intercultural misunderstandings which could be linked to inadequate briefing in the foreign country’s norms and expectations (suggested as preparation activity in students' own time)


Design one or a few intercultural incidents based in home or host culture
(suggested as preparation activity in students' own time)

  • does it correspond to your own experience so far?

  • to what extent is your experience a valid basis for the design of the intercultural incidents?

Work on the sample questions in ICP quizzes

  • find the best solution/s to the questions

  • refer to the commentary on the questions (currently available on request from ) and reflect on any answers which might have greatly surprised you; why?

  • is there a prevalence of single solutions? multiple solutions? to what might this be attributable?


  • the usefulness of intercultural incidents and quizzes in your preparation for the period abroad

  • which issues do you consider to be the most useful?

  • are quizzes lists of stereotypes? 


  • What have you learnt from these workshops?