【Academic】Prof. Mette Thunoe's Lecture “Culture Matters: On the Importance of Intercultural Competences in China Studies”
  Prof. Mette Thunoe of Aarhus University joined the Master of China Studies (MCS) program to give a lecture entitled "Culture Matters: On the Importance of Intercultural Competences in China Studies".


  The main focus of the lecture was to understand how foreigners can jump into a different culture and cope well with the challenges they confront. The lecture asked the audience to reflect critically on how to do define cultural competency, and which content of the competencies is actually important. Prof. Thunoe argued that not only do students of Chinese as a foreign language need to more actively learn intercultural competencies (IC), but that IC can even supplant the traditional goal of foreign language study, that of aspiring to become a native speaker. Not only does IC require a deep theoretical understanding of the beliefs, values, and behavior of a given culture, but it also requires self-reflexity with regards to our own stereotypes and culture through which we are perceiving other cultures. Thunoe introduced a model to the students that emphasized effective IC through a fundamental attitude of respect, openness, and curiosity that still provides space for confrontation and dialogue. Students discussed ways in which Chinese culture is neither monolithic nor static, and how a foreigners first impressions of China that lack deep cultural awareness often lead to misunderstandings and negative feelings, but a more rigorous analysis and investigation would improve IC. 



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