ICC Alumni Spotlight

Chris Dawe (2013)

Director of Foreign Teachers, Northeast Yucai International School, Shenyang, China

 
Q: Why did you want to study Intercultural Communication (ICC)?
A: GSE’s Intercultural Communication program attracted me because it’s individualized. My primary goal was to be a more effective educator overseas, and I wanted to do this by studying language dynamics in newly industrialized countries.

Q: What was the most memorable part of the ICC Program (favorite classes, etc.) and/or your Penn experience?
A: There were many memorable aspects of ICC, notably the superb faculty and my fantastic classmates. What stands out most, however, was the opportunity to work one-on-one with a professor in an independent study class. With Dr. Flores, I was able to take the experience I had working in Manila, and deepen my understanding of language policy by examining its historical and cultural underpinnings.

Q: What are you up to now and how do you incorporate what you learned in ICC/at Penn GSE in your work now?
A: I am the Director of Foreign Teachers at Northeast Yucai International School in Shenyang, China. Our school is quite diverse, with a student body representing over twenty nations and social, communicative, and cultural interactions occur daily. The ICC program equipped me with skills to ensure both our international students and international teachers have an enjoyable, educational, and rewarding experience.

* Interview conducted October 2016

JAMES BRIDGE (2012)

Working Abroad Program Manager, InterExchange, New York, NY

 
Q: Why did you want to study Intercultural Communication (ICC)?
A: I had spent a lot of time abroad teaching U.S. teens [through] exchange programs. I knew that I wanted to continue to encourage young people to become open to new ways of thinking and hopefully work with international programs, but wasn't sure what kind of professional position[s] I could achieve. The program allowed me to step back and envision various career options.

Q: What was the most memorable part of the ICC Program?
A: My favorite part was getting into new concepts, particularly discourse analysis. I recorded and analyzed talk-backs with artists, high school classroom discussions, and personal interviews (which I probably would not have done if not for the program). I had a lot of fun thinking, talking, and writing about all of it.

Q: How do you incorporate what you learned in the ICC Program in your work now?
A: I work for a non-profit called InterExchange in NYC. We bring foreigners into the U.S. and send U.S. citizens abroad for international work, volunteer, and career training programs. I manage the outbound programs for U.S. citizens. We think a lot about how we can foster increased intercultural competence so there are countless ways the program inspires my work.

* Interview conducted October 2016

Janet Gao (2011)

Ph.D. Candidate, The George Washington University, Washington DC

 
Q: Why did you want to study Intercultural Communication (ICC)?
A: After doing plenty of research and reaching out to alumni, I learned that Penn GSE offered a great ICC program which fit nicely with my past profession and academic experiences. Meanwhile, ICC provided broad career opportunities, including opportunities in the field of Education Management, Academic Research, Language Teaching / Training and Refugee / Immigrant Services.

Q: What was the most memorable part of the ICC Program (favorite classes, etc.) and/or your overall Penn experience?
A: As an ICC student, I participated in many group discussions and worked on many project with classmates from different educational and cultural backgrounds. We were not only classmates, but also good friends after class, which I valued a lot. I love Penn’s diversity. Everything is open to discussion and everyone can contribute. Another great experience I want to highlight is, as an ICC student, you can choose courses from outside the school which is absolutely amazing.

Q: What are you up to now and how do you incorporate what you learned in ICC/at Penn GSE in your work now?
A: I’m currently pursuing my doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at The George Washington University. My graduate study at Penn GSE has helped me effectively navigate tasks, issues, and problems faced by a particular population from social, cultural, and linguistic perspectives. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to combine my interest in intercultural communication with a growing set of analytical and research skills that I can leverage during my current doctoral study.

* Interview conducted October 2016