A digital community and virtual ecosystem for diverse U.S.-China intercultural exchange and skill building
**Third Space Program currently on hold**
What is THIRD SPACE
Third Space is a digital community and virtual ecosystem where diverse American and Chinese college students and young professionals come together to engage interculturally and reflect on intercultural living.
Goal of Third Space
To bring together diverse people who care about listening-for-understanding across language and cultural lines and who want to build their intercultural skills.
- Our community holds bi-weekly Story Circles where our members- in diverse groups of four- share culturally-situated stories in Mandarin and/or English.
- Our community members also engage with one another within our Facebook, LinkedIn and WeChat groups, where students can share articles and have candid conversations about intercultural engagement.
About our Story Circles process
Our Story Circle process has been tailored over the past two years based on the feedback from diverse Chinese and American participants.
Every Story Circle involves between 20 and 60 participants, who are matched into groups of four for story sharing in a way that ensures (1) each group has diverse representation in terms of national / cultural background and (2) each group shares stories in the right mix of English and Mandarin (based on participant request).
Under the supervision of Dr. Darla Deardorff of Duke University, UNESCO designed and piloted the Story Circle approach in five countries around the world as a way to promote cultivation of intercultural competence among diverse populations. The original methodology, which Third Space has tailored to our diverse and bilingual U.S.-China community of college students, can be found here: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000370336
We begin each Story Circle together as one large group, with our bilingual co-facilitators welcoming participants. We then break into groups of four to share stories with one another across language and cultural lines. The stories we share revolve around cultural prompts that have been provided ahead of time (so participants can prepare ahead of time, if they desire). Each group of four includes a “moderator” who is trained to guide the others through this research-based story-sharing process, designed in accordance with our core principles of equality, curiosity, empathy and subjectivity-of-experience. Finally, after all four participants have shared stories and explored the themes that emerged, we come back together as a whole group to critically reflect on what we’ve learned about culture and intercultural engagement. We critically reflect through an open conversation, in which contributions from all participants are welcomed, and where we value hearing from diverse voices.
Story Circle Materials
Third Space Overview Download Link (click icon)
Third Space Example Support Packet Download Link (click icon)
The Third Space Team
Our Third Space community is powered by a diverse team of interns and volunteers committed to promoting our core values, and creating Story Circle events where diverse students can learn about the many ways that their peers move through the world as “American” and/or “Chinese”.
Third Space Coordinator
Outreach and Onboarding
As part of USHCA’s student programs, Third Space partners with a range of like minded organizations that value the cultivation of global competence and second language skills, as well as the belief that we need to provide opportunities for diverse domestic and international students to engage in meaningful dialogue with one another.
If your university, college club, second language program, or international student office would like to collaborate with us, simply contact Thirdspace_outreach@usheartlandchina.org