Research

Research on the process of moving to and living in a new culture is one of the central activities of The Interchange Institute. We use our findings as the basis for all our other activities. Our publications, training, consulting and writing are all based on the latest, cutting-edge research on intercultural transition and adjustment. 

See a summary of our recent work below or contact us to start work on a  collaborative research project

Download our free research reports:

Many Women Many Voices

A study of 194 women who moved to a new country primarily because of their husbands' jobs - what helped and what hurt their chances of adjusting smoothly to their new lives.

Many Expatriates Many Voices

A study of 101 accompanying spouses and partners who had recently moved to the US because of their spouse/partners' job, focusing on their reactions to Americans, what made a difference in their adjustment, and which services helped smooth their way.

What to Wear Where: Mishaps in the Presentation of Identity

We explore an important mode of non-verbal communication: our physical appearance and the messages we send about our identity, both knowingly and unknowingly, when we get up in the morning, fix our hair, slip on our shoes, pick out our jacket and walk out the door.

Voices from the Road: The Personal and Family Side of Short-Term International Assignments and Extended Business Travel: Spouses’ Perspective

In Phase II of the study we surveyed spouses of employees on such unaccompanied assignments, asking for their perspective on the assignment. What is it like for the family to stay at home? What jobs, roles and stresses does the at-home parent need to absorb? If he’s not there to talk to, confide in, offer advice or solace, have fun with, what’s she to do? How do families cope with the revolving exits and entrances of the employee? Just when they’ve gotten used to his being gone, he’s home for a visit. Do they return to their old pattern of decision-making, or having gotten used to managing on her own, does she resent his “interference?” In short, are short-term assignments good for marriages, or even “OK” for marriages? And the children? How absent can a parent be and still maintain a loving and supportive connection to a child? What kinds of parenting can – and can’t – be offered by telephone and email? What events (like school plays, graduations, and games) are so important they can’t be missed, and do the parents and children agree on the answer to this question?

Voices from the Road: The Personal and Family Side of Short-Term International Assignments and Extended Business Travel: Employees’ Perspective

In Phase I of this study we surveyed 1461 employees on unaccompanied short-term international assignments and extended business travel. We measured and compared aspects of both the work and family context of the assignment, and work and family outcomes. Results led to recommendations for families and sponsoring organizations. 

At Home Abroad: How Design and Architecture Influence Overseas Living

A look at the importance of home environments on overseas living. We examined the relationship between housing layout and expatriate adjustment among 130 participants, who shared their experiences of choosing and settling into a home in a new country, and their thoughts about how their new home’s design influences their cultural and family experience living overseas.

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.