Intercultural Exchange Workshop

"Learned a lot about other cultures as well as the Minnesota culture"
Former Student, March 2015

The Intercultural Exchange Workshop (formerly the Midwest Cultural Exchange) is designed to provide a unique opportunity for students from other countries, and au pairs, to enhance their cultural understanding of the U.S., improve their language skills, and broaden their knowledge of intercultural communication.

In two Saturday sessions, students will receive instruction in English to improve their intercultural understanding and interpersonal skills; complete assignments to learn more about culture and life in the Midwest; present about the culture of their home country; and exchange ideas with other students from around the world. Choose from one or both of the unique programs below.

Please note: Participants must be able to attend both Saturdays to receive the credit for the workshop.

Topics Include

  • Intro to Culture & Culture Shock
  • American Culture & Customs
  • Intercultural Theories & Communication
  • D.I.E. Model: Conflict Resolution Strategies for Mediation & Problem Solving
  • Dimensions of Relational Communication
  • Cultural Field Trip

2 Saturday sessions
2.0 CEU (20 hours)

Topics Include

  • U.S. Regional Personalities
  • Minnesota Style
  • American English
  • U.S. Civil Rights
  • History & Race
  • U.S. Politics
  • Final presentation assignment

2 Saturday sessions
2.0 CEU (20 hours)

Shalene's Success Story

From Midwest Cultural Exchange to Licensed Practical Nursing


“I was intrigued to learn about American Culture. I signed up for these classes two months after coming to the United States - so I was kind of clueless about American values and culture."
- Shalene M., LPN Student, HTC, Fall 2013”






For some students, attending the Midwest Cultural Exchange is not only the introduction to American Culture, it’s also the first exposure to Hennepin Technical College and making new friends. Shalene Moodley is currently earning her associate’s degree in Licensed Practical Nursing, but her journey at HTC began with taking the Customized Training Services Course “American Values” in 2010 as part of the Midwest Cultural Exchange series. These MCE courses are designed to provide a unique opportunity for au pairs and students from other countries to enhance their cultural understanding of the U.S., it’s history and society, improve their language skills, and broaden their knowledge of intercultural topics.

Shalene, originally from Durban, South Africa, arrived in the U.S. to work as an Au Pair in Eden Prairie. Caren Abdelaal, an MCE Instructor, explains that many Au Pairs attend the MCE series to gain solid knowledge about such topics as American English and History, and American Culture and Language.

“I liked these courses because they were relevant to me at the time.” Shalene commented, “I didn’t know a ton of people and was brand new to the country so it definitely helped me to make new friends and understand the American Culture better. I really did enjoy the classes. Everyone in the class were au pairs too or foreigners so we had that in common. We got to share the experiences we had in the United States and enjoy each other’s company.”

Jonathan Stuart, another MCE course instructor, described what the MCE series is like for a typical student: “This is an intensive type course where we (at that time) did an outing, had several topics, group exercises, and presentations - it is typically focused around language and culture.”

Shalene explained that being a full-time au pair can make it difficult to meet friends, and at the MCE course, she found people she could relate to because they shared the same issues such as experiencing homesickness, and working through the challenges of being a full-time au pair. But for Shalene, what started as taking one MCE course, eventually led her to choose HTC to successfully pursue her Licensed Practical Nursing degree.

“If I didn’t take those customized training classes I never would have discovered what a great college HTC is. I was also able to build my self-esteem by sharing my experiences and opinions in the classes. I would like to say that I have fully immersed myself in American Culture now.”

Shalene continues to immerse herself in HTC, by serving as a Student Ambassador on the Eden Prairie campus. “ I have been working as a student ambassador at the college since the end of Summer 2013. We help give tours to potential students, help get students oriented and registered at the college, assist student clubs when they need help with events and help out at graduation among other things”.

With a solid start that began with an MCE course, Shalene has a bright future ahead of her at HTC and beyond. Asked if she would recommend the MCE series to other students, Shalene responds “I de?nitely would recommend these courses to other foreign exchange students. It’s an excellent way to meet new people especially when you are new in the country and I really did learn more about the American Culture and way of thinking”