Past Events








April 14, 2007 Cross-cultural Workshop for ESL Instructors Theodore August Klein, Jr.
Participants in this four-hour workshop received a thorough introduction to what culture is and how it affects persons living in new environments.  Features that confuse visitors and immigrants in the U.S.A. were discussed and ESL instructors learned methods and sources to integrate language and intercultural training in the classroom, on both the cognitive and experiential levels. Participants received copies of "A Field Workbook in Intercultural Communication," by Ted Klein, which contains a wide-ranging variety of cultural features and perception tests in workbook format, useful to both instructors and their students.
March 30 & 31, 2007

Harmony Spring Art Festival

Asian Traditional Instrument Concert & Art Exhibition

Multicultural Artists Partnership (MAP)

For more details, please go to www.multiculturalartfestivals.org

March 22, 2007 Are the Chinese Inscrutable? Chinese Communication Style Through American Eyes Dr. Catherine Farris

Americans and other westerners often think of Chinese people as inscrutable-unknown and unknowable. Chinese seem to smile when they don’t really mean it, or worse yet, present an expressionless face, impossible to read.  When speaking in English, they may say ‘yes’ when they really mean ‘no,’ or their statements or answers to straightforward questions seem convoluted and difficult to follow.  Americans eager to do business in China, government officials seeking to work with their Chinese counterparts, students and tourists flocking to China are often confronted with inexplicable communication signals.  They then fall back on orientalist stereotypes that impede effective intercultural understanding. With mainland China’s rapid rise as a global economic power, the necessity for Americans to move beyond stereotypes is now more critical than ever.

Much of the “mystery” of how to communicate effectively with the Chinese lies in understanding different values, beliefs and expectations about appropriate communication. In this interactive presentation, we discussed how different styles impact—and often limit—communication between Chinese and Americans. Using movie clips, interviews with Chinese professional people, and research reports, we examined three key areas of verbal and nonverbal communication which shape Americans’ impression of ‘inscrutability’: facial and body language, rhetorical style, and discourse conventions. Participants learned something about their own, unconscious communicative assumptions as simultaneously and they gained understanding of culture and communication in Chinese societies.

March 1st, 2007 Intercultural Café   At our second Intercultural Café we invited several local cultural groups to come and talk about their organization’s upcoming events. We created partnerships with the Portuguese Language Meetup Group and the Multicultural Artists Partnership (MAP). Ted Klein was also present to discuss his upcoming ESL Training Workshop.
February 17, 2007 Journeys of Migration Linda E. Edwards

To celebrate Black History Month, SIETAR Austin was honored to present Ms. Linda E. Edwards. Ms. Edwards examined patterns of migration and cultural impact on one small Caribbean nation that could be a microcosm for the world. Participants became involved in a multi-media presentation including lecturette, visuals and music, and thus engaged the possibility of becoming more adept at negotiating through different cultural lens.

January 27, 2007 Building Bilingual and Bicultural Self-Confidence Lu Zeidan & Ted Klein

Perception plays a very important role in cultural interaction. It affects communication and comfort levels on all sides. With a focus on English as a second language education, this program was divided in two parts.

First, Ted Klein gave the participants a questionnaire about a culture many of them may have some ideas about, based on reality or fiction. Ted has used the T.K. 75 Research Survey Questionnaire for decades, both in intercultural and in ESL training, to acquaint international students and visitors with U.S. Americans and U.S. Americans with other peoples. It is one-page exercise in which the participant summarizes and to a degree, conscious or otherwise, evaluates the target culture at the beginning and end of training. The successful trainer uses the results of these forms to determine if some positive changes have occurred during the course of training. More often than not, perceptions and judgments both change. 

Second, Lu Zeidan discussed the different language, cultural and emotional challenges faced by immigrants and refugees when it comes to living in a new culture and learning to communicate in a new language. Lu also covered the different practical, psychological and socio-economic barriers ESL students face that impact their language acquisition. She discussed practical methods for helping ESL students build bilingual and bicultural self-confidence.

December 9, 2006 Annual International Potluck  
We had a great turnout with over 70 people. We ate delicious food from around the world, enjoyed listening to Anup playing the drum, and shared interculturally engaging conversations.

October 26, 2006   

Identity & Language Learning

Marshall Brewer

By imagining change in a world that included intercultural understanding and using methods of experience-based learning, Marshall conducted a workshop that demonstrated how discovery of one's own identities influences our interactions and how language learners' identities influence learning.  He addressed identity, diversity and language learning.  This program was suitable for social workers, police, teachers, parents, students, and others in close interaction with language learners of any language and of any proficiency.

October 13, 2006 Intercultural Café  
This informal gathering drew over 50 people. It was a huge success and we plan to continue this new tradition. Members needed a venue for meeting in a less formal, less structured way to build new friendships and networks, and the Intercultural Café was the perfect solution!

September 17, 2006

Intercultural Relocation:  Fantasy & Reality

Marko Thiele, Christelle Auger, Megan Schiebe Touvell,  Anne Schmidt

Our panel of speakers presented their perspectives and experiences about moving to the United States from another country and to another country from the U.S.  Their comments focused on the following areas: sharing perceptions about intercultural relocation experiences; discussing challenges and obstacles encountered in relocating to a different country; talking about cultural misconceptions and perceptions; looking at how language barriers can affect cultural and social interactions; examining socio-economic differences and how these differences may impact relocation; and discussing ways to face these challenges, obstacles and differences with positive results.

May 25, 2006

Connecting Head, Hand, and Heart: Building Intercultural Support Networks

Dr. Cody Brady

Participants learned about the importance and types of support necessary for successful relocation.  Combining tools from the social sciences with theories on social support, participants developed visual displays of the changes experienced during relocation.  By learning about the different types of support, businesses and organizations can be clear about providing the type of support families need when relocating around the world or to the other side of town. Facilitated by Dr. Cody Brady, Ph.D, this hands-on program was based on findings from Cody's dissertation, "Global Families: Experiences of Moving Cross-Culturally with a Global Corporation."

March 23, 2006

The Hispanic Patient: Cultural Competency for Health Care Providers

Susan Dyer

Susan Dyer led the participants in discussing:

         The value of being able to understand and respond to the cultural, emotional, social, and psychological issues of the Hispanic patient

         How cultural values affect relationships between health care providers and Hispanic patients

         Communication with Hispanic patients that results in the most effective medical services

February 23, 2006

From our Hearts, Intercultural Families and Friendships: A Look at Intercultural Families and Friendships

Dr. Cody Brady, Jenell Scherbel and Anne Pham-Macharia

Participants were invited to engage in group discussions to explore the advantages and challenges of intercultural relationships. We examined how external factors such as language, cultural traditions, religious and political differences play a role in the way we interact with our close friends and family. We also explored ideas on how to avoid cultural conflicts and misunderstandings and improve cross-cultural communication.

December 1, 2005

How the  media affect our  perceptions - Part II

Dr. Stephen Reese

Dr. Reese explored critical issues in journalism including how media shape and reflect our perceptions. Participants looked at how public issues are framed and how they may elicit a variety of responses from various publics of the media and discussed how cultural values influence both what is selected for reporting and subsequent responses.

November 5, 2005

How the media affects our perceptions -  Part I

Jason Hill and Mike King

Jason Hill from KVUE and Mike King from the Austin Chronicle led the participants to explore our perceptions of the news media.  They compared how the global media covers terrorism in comparison to the U.S. media.  We looked at what is shown and not shown, reported and not reported.  They pointed out how images are used to elicit a response from the medias various publics and how cultural values influence what is shown and our response to them.  The participants had the opportunity to discuss this question, When is news simple reporting and when does news become propaganda?

October 12, 2005

The Impact of Visual Images: Moving from Terrorism to Peace

Alan Pogue

This program helped us learn how the images we see effect our perceptions, our attitudes and ultimately our actions related to terrorism and peace. Award winning artist and photographer, Alan Pogue conducted an interactive presentation of his influential works. The artist showed us prints and slides and shared his stories about selected photographs.

June 18, 2005

Business Meeting/elections



April 16, 2005




March 12, 2005

The Culture Walk

Fran Joseph

The Culture Walk is a powerful self discovery exercise that helps participants reveal deeper levels of cultural awareness. It will explore culture at both domestic and national levels. The exercise is simple yet the learning can be complex with unexpected results. The Culture Walk is an opportunity to listen and be listened to as well as a chance to see a very effective, non-confrontational method to explore cultural identity.

February 23, 2005

A Framework For Cultures

Susan Dyer

Based on the Work of Geert Hofstede, this program is for Austin's community of intercultural business people, students, trainers, and educators who attempt to understand people who come from different cultural backgrounds.  It will enlarge your capacity to learn about those who have been raised differently from yourself, to study and to teach about culture, to work together and to strike trade deals, to host visitors from abroad, and to be an informed tourist.

January 22, 2005

Global Nomads

Vicki Ray


November 3, 2004

What is Cross-Cultural Training?

Charisse Kosova

This session introduced cross-cultural training techniques designed to help participants recognize aspects of their own culture that make adapting to a new culture challenging. Through a series of discussions, reviewing critical incidents, and looking at strategy models, participants became more aware of the way in which their own personal and professional goals dictate the degree to which they choose to adapt to the behaviors of a new culture.