Connecting Stanford & Sydney

This week students at Stanford and University of Sydney are connecting for a series of video conferences in which they will practice their intercultural presentation skills.  This is the fourth time that we’ve had this exchange in the last couple years; it’s a series of marathon sessions where students from a variety of classes (on Social Media, Intercultural Communication, Identity, the Rhetoric of Deception, Ethics, and even Fake News) share a very brief presentation featuring a moment of analysis or a glimpse into their research.

For almost all of these students, it’s their first CCR connection, and a pretty intense experience as they move through a shared analysis of political cartoons (for instance, this Australian comic) and then into their own presentations and discussion.  The tech works pretty well, though Marratech tends to be a little rougher around the edges than Skype and there occasionally are some intermittent sound glitches.  All told, however, it tends to be a memorable experience.

We’d love to hear feedback from the students who participated in these connections.   If you’d like, leave us a comment to let us know:

  • What did you learn about intercultural communication and rhetoric across cultures from this video exchange?
  • What was most memorable moment or element of the exchange? What surprised you the most?
  • What new insights do you have that you can use for your presentation, your research project, or future intercultural communications?
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12 Responses to Connecting Stanford & Sydney

  1. Hello from down under. We’d just like to say that the students were really helpful and provided different ideas and perspectives about our political cartoons which we didn’t consider before hand.

    You have cool accents.

    Thanks. Might see you round 🙂

  2. Hi Everyone!

    We had a really good video conference with “Tom” and “Jane” from Sydney. There were a few sound glitches, but it was a really productive discussion. We realized that there were significant differences and imbalances in cultural knowledge, as they knew more about both Australian and American news than we did.

    It was helpful to get comments on our presentations and an alternative perspective.

  3. ■What did you learn about intercultural communication and rhetoric across cultures from this video exchange?

    That the technology malfunctions can make it difficult to communicate.

    ■What was most memorable moment or element of the exchange? What surprised you the most?

    When they were whispering and thought we couldn’t hear them. BUT WE COULD.

    ■What new insights do you have that you can use for your presentation, your research project, or future intercultural communications?

    That it’s important to be succinct and clear especially when dealing with an audience that can be easily distracted (on both sides) because of the method of communication, not face to face.

  4. Chris, Emily, Yoshika says:

    Even with technical glitches, it was really fun talking with the Australian students. They seemed to know a lot about international issues; they understood the American oil spill cartoon right away, but they had to explain their cartoon about Australian politics to us.

    It was really fun to listen to their accents!

  5. Group B says:

    Hey from Stanford! We had a great time talking with you and learning about Australian politics and stuff. And yes, Obama really is that cool and frats really aren’t that bad. Thanks for all your feedback on our projects. Good luck in the World Cup!

    -Luisa, Charles, and Zach

  6. Feross and Yiam and Deyan says:

    Technical difficulties are inevitable. It takes patience to work through these difficulties…. patience that we sometimes don’t have.

    We found it difficult to connect deeply with the other group since:

    1) We just met each other.
    2) They couldn’t see our slides for a while.
    3) We’re forced to talk about disparate topics that have no real relevance to the other group.
    4) We’re forced to switch gears so quickly because of the time limit (their class ended before we could finish our presentations).

    There was a real lack of flow in our conversation. We seemed to be jumping from topic to topic so quickly without ever really digging in.

    It was great to meet you. We learned new things about Australia and China that we probably wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

  7. Ricky, Cynthia, and Naomi says:


    We really enjoyed getting to know Ellie, Nadia, Selina, and Cheryl. They were really helpful and sweet. Their ideas on their cartoons were interesting and different from what we see. We got a new cross-cultural perception about world-issues.

    Although we had technical difficulties and not a lot of time, we found it engaging and we learned a lot. We would have liked to have more time, but found it a great experience.

    Ricky, Cynthia, and Naomi

  8. 5pm Group A says:

    Australia side was not familiar with the actual procedure we were supposed to follow. They immediately jumped into their analysis when they first started talking rather than getting to know us. Also there was only one person on at a time and then someone else came rather than a group talking to a group. Once again, the person jumped into their analysis. In terms of insight, we learned that being clear and succinct is very important to keeping the audience interested and keeping the analysis fresh.

  9. Kaia Simmons says:

    The selection of Australians that my group spoke with were a funny combination: three chinese students who rarely spoke (if at all) and one Australian who talked the whole time. I really enjoyed chatting with him, for he was incredibly up-to-date on American popular culture.

    While it was easy to find many similarities between him and us, he was also unafraid to make fun of Americans. He openly talked about the stereotypes of Americans, calling “most of” our country “gullable.” The reaction within my group seemed to be one of agreement, although we disagreed with him in regard to HOW much of the population fits the stereotype.

    We communicated well in our discussions of the political cartoons, and the conversation became even more rich when we all collaborated to analyze the ones that none of us had seen before.

  10. Anthony Bosman says:

    It was really cool connecting with people across the globe — especially as we found some things we have in common; namely, spending time on facebook and being a math major!!! One problem was some of the comics were not uploaded so we had to view them through the camera which had low quality — still some problems with the technology. But they did a great job with the presentations nevertheless. I learned a lot and really enjoyed meeting with them!

  11. Adam Klein says:

    It was great talking with our four new friends in Australia, although the directions for what we were supposed to be doing were not very clear. We had an entertaining time talking with them about life in Australia compared to the US and getting to learn more about them and their class. Good times.

  12. FU XINYING says:

    I’ve finished my presentation~With the help of the students from Stanford Uni, finally I did it!
    The most memorable moment of the exchange was the time that we talk to each other, it was pretty cool. I never thought about this kind of special experience. I was thinkingv “hey, I’m talking with the people from Stanford Uni” and Um.. I don’t know, I was a bit nervous so my brain stopped work for seconds.
    I took the advice that my partners tald me which is to add more back ground information. And I hope I did a good job.
    Thank you for helping us^^

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