About Us

The work of understanding others and helping others understand us is our mission. 

We design and deliver specialized cross-cultural training workshops, train and consult to professionals in the field, conduct research on the process of intercultural transition and produce content to assist newcomers to the US.

The Interchange Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization established in 1997 by Dr. Anne P. Copeland. The work of smoothing intercultural transitions has never been so critical.

A Word From Our Director...​

Why I Started The Interchange Institute

 

In 1988 I moved from Boston to London with my two-year-old daughter and my accompanying spouse. At the time I was a full-time university professor. I was off to be the academic advisor for our study abroad program for a year while my husband wrote a book. It had promised to be a plum assignment but a series of interlinked problems made it a bit of a lemon. Happily, our short sojourn turned into a career-changing adventure for me, for when I came back, I found I wanted to do something different, something important with my intercultural experience.

I learned many things that year:

 

  • Living in a new culture is easier if you understand its values and history. I was stunned by how different the US and UK cultures were. But after all, 400 years of separate history is a lot of years of separate history. Still, I thought, if this cultural transition was so hard for me, how do people from much more different cultures possibly manage?
  • People from two cultures will work together more easily if both recognize the differences and try to learn from each other. All that year, I was scrambling to understand the cultural differences I was feeling. The most helpful exchanges came from British colleagues who were also interested in the ways our cultures had diverted.
  • You can do a much better job living in a new country if your spouse is happy. I had all sorts of problems to deal with in my job in London, but my husband was having a ball. He kept our house going. He took our daughter to every London park. And he was a valuable sounding board for me.

I founded The Interchange Institute in 1997, with the goal of using my psychological and research expertise to increase knowledge about intercultural transitions, and then turning that knowledge into practical products for real people. You’ll see the fruits of my London experience throughout our work – in our research on Intercultural Transition, in our materials about values and history for newcomers to the United States, and, perhaps most importantly, in our various attempts to educate both newcomers and hosts about the challenges this global world poses.

I have loved this work since I began it. News and political events since then have underscored its urgency. The work of smoothing intercultural transitions has never been so critical. The work of helping others understand us and of coming to understand others is our mission.

Get In Contact With Us

Michelle Hagenberg, M. Ed.​

Senior Advisor

Michelle has worked professionally as a trainer, facilitator and coach for over 25 years, both in the US and in Germany. Michelle has taught Business English and Intercultural Communication for over 15 years in Germany and worked as a College Instructor and a Facilitator for the US Navy in the Chicago area. Since 2008 she has been working as an Intercultural Trainer, preparing families for their assignments in the United States of America, both in person and online. She thinks the Crossing Cultures with Competence training program is one of the best in its field and it very happy to have the chance work more intensely with Dr. Anne P. Copeland and the rest of this training team.

Michelle grew up in South Bend, Indiana, received her Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in 1992 and her Masters from Kent State University in 1996 and now has been living in the Cologne area for the last twenty years. Originally coming to Germany in 2000 on a two-year German relocation assignment for a major pharmaceutical company, she decided to stay even longer, but spends as much time as she can in Michigan and Florida. She knows what it feels like to struggle as an accompanying spouse in a new land and having to learn and survive using a new language. Her fun, relaxed skills-based approach brings results in the classroom and the meeting room. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.

Terri McGinnis, M.S.

Senior Trainer​

Terri is an independent cross-cultural trainer specializing in helping families moving overseas, assisting those coming from overseas to live and work in the U.S., and providing group business briefings on China, Brazil and USA. Terri has worked with large automotive companies, automotive suppliers, oil companies, national office supply and furniture companies, the construction industry, electronic companies, IT companies, chemical companies, not to mention many other national and international companies.

A well-read and traveled individual, Terri has lived in and navigated different cultures successfully. Ms. McGinnis lived with her family as an expatriate in Beijing, China. In China, she conducted cross-cultural training programs, studied Mandarin, worked for the International School of Beijing providing classes to their staff, and provided Pilates training to individuals in the expatriate community of Beijing.

In addition to her overseas experience in China, Ms. McGinnis also lived with her family as an expatriate in Brazil for three years where she studied Portuguese. In addition to her language studies, she worked for Fiske School teaching English as a second language to Brazilian nationals. While in Brazil, the International School of Curitiba engaged her services for curriculum and staff development.

Prior to her international assignments, Ms. McGinnis was a high school teacher teaching vocational business skills. She also has eight years of experience in the automotive industry working in various HR positions.

Ms. McGinnis graduated with a Master of Science degree in Instructional Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

Her experiences in Brazil and China have taught her to appreciate the world’s diversity and to cross cultures successfully. Her hobbies are reading, sea kayaking, paddle boarding and travel. She has two daughters attending university. She actively volunteers for her a local national club swim team.

Tasha Arnold, M.S.

Senior Trainer​

Tasha is an independent cross-cultural trainer and learning specialist with expertise in helping students, educators, senior leadership, and families transition to and from new cultural contexts. Through tailored transition and intercultural engagement programs, her goal is to help improve student achievement and educator fulfilment.

Tasha has experience working with a variety of both state and private education establishments operating in the elementary, secondary and higher education sectors. She is a certified teacher and high school principal and an approved NEASC Evaluator who visits and evaluates schools globally. Tasha has directed several research studies on educators’ experiences and perceived needs with regards to transition at their international school in order to improve the transition experience for educators, students and families in these cultural contexts. Her future work will focus on the psychological impact transition has on teacher retention.

Tasha is originally from Wisconsin, USA, where she worked as Head of Science in a local state middle school before taking up a specialist role with Chicago Public Schools as an educational consultant; there, she analyzed data on student achievement and collaborated with teachers and senior leadership to develop best practice that met the needs of a diverse and socioeconomic challenged student population. In 2011, Tasha then relocated to the UK where she has worked as a learning specialist and head of year at an international school. In the UK, Tasha has led and managed the achievement, progress and pastoral provision for neurodiverse high school students.

Tasha holds a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences Degree in both Education and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, with minors in Theology and Hispanic Literature. She has a Master’s of Science Degree in Educational Administration. She is in the final stages of completing her Doctoral degree, which has a psychological and sociological focus on teacher transition in international schools.

Tasha lives in London, UK with her husband and provides transition advice, workshops, and training on cultural competency in the USA, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Anne P. Copeland, Ph.D.

Founder and Executive Director of The Interchange Institute​

Dr. Copeland is a clinical psychologist with expertise in family and cultural transition. She provides cross-cultural training for individuals and families moving to and from the United States. She also trains others to deliver tailored, individualized cross-cultural orientation programs through the Crossing Cultures with Competence program, through which almost 500 interculturalists have been trained across the globe.

Dr. Copeland has written several books on families and transition (Studying Families, Sage 1991, Separating Together 1997, and In Their Own Voice 2011), and has authored over 90 research articles, chapters, and professional presentations.

Prior to founding The Interchange Institute in 1997, Dr. Copeland was Associate Professor of Psychology at Boston University, where she conducted research and research supervision in psychological aspects of family process assessment, ethnicity, cultural influences, immigration, development, developmental disabilities and affective development. During her tenure at the University, she relocated with her family to work in London in 1988, where she was the academic advisor for Boston University’s British Programmes.

Dr. Copeland has directed many research studies on expatriate families’ experience, including multinational in-depth analyses of the social, familial, and personal aspects of moving to a new country. Recent work focuses on the personal and family side of international short-term assignments, on the role of one’s home – its design and layout – on one’s expatriate experience, on the challenges of moving to a country that is perceived as very similar, the experiences of high school exchange host families, and the ways in which having experienced being different as a child has an impact on the expatriate experience.

Dr. Copeland lives with her husband in Boston, MA, and Barters Island, ME.