Ideas & Exchanges

Hotchkiss thrives on the energy of its diverse, vibrant community — a community that celebrates different worldviews. Through a distinctive academic curriculum, travel programs and exchanges, and professional development opportunities, students and faculty are continually exposed to new cultural perspectives. The School provides nearly $100,000 in funding each year to support students and faculty as they seek a greater understanding of our complex, interconnected world.


In Our Curriculum

Each semester, Hotchkiss offers a number of courses that reflect our commitment to fostering global understanding. Past courses have included:

  • Beyond Words: Intercultural Communication

    You might be fluent in a second language, but can you communicate effectively across cultures by showing an understanding of and sensitivity to cultural differences? We live in an era of unprecedented interconnectedness between people from widely different cultural backgrounds and intercultural competence has become a crucial skill to possess. In this course, students learn basic conceptual tools and theories of intercultural communication. Students will analyze their personal intercultural experiences and deconstruct intercultural communication processes presented in course materials, including literature, film, and a repertoire of critical incidents. By the end of this course, students will be able to:
    • identify key theories and concepts of intercultural communication that have pragmatic utility for purposes of communicating across cultures;
    • engage in and critically reflect on activities intended to develop their sensitivity to cultural differences;
    • and observe the complexities of intercultural communication processes by reflecting on the nature of culture shock, cultural adaption, integration, intercultural conflicts, etc.
  • Homeland vs. Promised Land

    This course examines patterns of global migration, immigration, and emigration in the context of the aspirations of groups and individuals, of the promises and hazards of economic and social change, and of the combination of ‘push and pull factors’ that constitute the landscape within which migration takes place. This course pays particular attention to social identity — to the glue that holds together various groups and to the mythologies that build up around them.
  • Globalization and International Relations

    How can we understand the challenges modern powerful nations face in advancing their interests, security, and ambitions? How do rapid changes in global strategic, economic, and geopolitical environments challenge nations to preserve their threatened standing or to seek opportunistic advancement? How accurate have international relations frameworks, such as Political Realism, been in assessing – and predicting – interstate behavior? This class considers and employs conceptual tools, including crisis escalation, bipolarity, zero-sum game thinking, spheres of influence, national security, and deterrence to understand the nature of superpower rivalry, past and present. The course draws on readings from a diverse group of modern scholars as well ancient sources in considering the cases of classical Greece in the 5th century BC, Europe in 1914, the outbreak of the Cold War, and the post-9/11 age.

Faculty Programs

  • The Esquel-Y.L. Yang Education Fund allows five to seven faculty members to spend up to two weeks working with teachers in China during the summer.
  • Confucius Classroom promotes learning Chinese language and culture.
  • Professional development opportunities, such as The Brookings Institution Professional Development Training: 21st Century Learning and the Evolving Global landscape, which was offered in August 2015.

Travel Programs

Through faculty-led travel programs and partnerships with exchange organizations School Year Abroad and Round Square, Hotchkiss students and faculty can immerse themselves in the language and culture of another place.

Learn more about travel programs

Lecturers and Ambassador Speaker Series

  • The Ambassador Speaker Series, initiated in 2008 by Philip Pillsbury ’53, brings in ambassadors and diplomats from all over the world, including the ambassadors of Chile, Colombia, Croatia, France, Japan, Russia, and South Africa.
  • Other guest speakers have included Elie Wiesel, documentary producer Nosarieme Garrick, and Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein of Jordan.