Third Space Lab Event Report on “International Education: Can Intercultural Journey Have a Transformative Role in Life?

By Anisha Joshi

Class of 2022

Click [HERE] to watch the recording

On June 29th, 2020, the Third Space Lab hosted guest researcher Dr. Joana Almeida, who discussed the importance of intercultural competence and the different ways students can foster this invaluable skill in a rapidly globalizing world. With a research focus in the internationalisation of higher education, Dr. Almeida has worked in Portugal, the US, and the UK, and plans in the near future to assume a position in Spain. Her talk to the DKU community around a question pertinent to the journeys of DKU students: can intercultural competence have a transformative role in life?

During her undergraduate studies at the University of Aveiro in Portugal, she studied abroad for a year in the UK through the Erasmus program, a student exchange initiative built to encourage student mobility and pan-European cultural exchange in the EU. She describes this first time in a new culture as the most challenging time. Thrust into a new language environment while also learning and teaching languages, she faced many obstacles- challenges that DKU students have all probably faced at one point or another. But after recognizing these challenges, Dr. Almeida labored to design strategies to overcome them, and these soon found their way into her work. Continue reading “Third Space Lab Event Report on “International Education: Can Intercultural Journey Have a Transformative Role in Life?”

Third Space Lab Initiative – Portraits of Third Spaces: Your DKU/Kunshan Story

Portraits of Third Spaces: Your DKU/Kunshan Story is a community project to create a unique story that captures the intercultural transformation of the people of the DKU and Kunshan communities

The transformation that many students, faculty, staff, and members of the Kunshan community have experienced in the past two years is a result of other experiences: altered spaces, new environments with different languages and cultures, intercultural interactions, celebrations, frustrations, loss, and so much more that cannot be possibly contained in a list. 

Portraits of Third Spaces: Your DKU/Kunshan Story will capture a snapshot of the DKU and Kunshan communities, creating a collective narrative that will reflect transformations resulting from intercultural encounters. TSL’s Portraits of Third Spaces: Your DKU/Kunshan Story campaign endeavors to catalog the uniqueness of individuals and contexts resulting from the interface of multiple cultures, in order to reflect the transformation of individuals and of spaces. TSL hopes that our campaign will encourage moments of reflection as our communities continue to move forward. 

Third Space Lab invites you to submit your personal reflection of transformation from your experiences at DKU or in Kunshan in response to the following themes (Language/Culture, Identity, and Spaces). The sub-themes below each theme are merely examples, and you are free to discuss another topic that falls under the larger theme:

Language and/or Culture

  • How have your (intercultural) experiences at DKU or in Kunshan affected your language or your view of language (Mandarin Chinese, English, or another language)?
  • How has it affected how you view (your) culture(s) and other cultures?


nativeness vs. non-nativeness
dominance vs. marginalization
self vs. other
insider vs. outsider 

  • How has your experience defined or redefined how you conceptualize or challenge the above (often perceived) dichotomies?
  • How has your experience in the past year or two influenced how you see yourself and others? How so?
  • How has it influenced your relationships with others (family, friends back home, new encounters, etc.)?
  • How has it affected your interests (personal, academic, professional, etc.)?
  • How has it influenced how you perform your identity in front of different audiences (family, friends back home, new encounters, etc.)?


public vs. private
online vs. in-person
physical vs. intellectual 

  • How have some of the consequences of the pandemic influenced your conceptualization of the spaces mentioned above? 
  • How has your new environment affected your awareness of how your identity is shaped by these spaces?

Initial selection for the event will not be based on mastery of a medium (e.g. selection will be made based on how well the submission depicts the themes, not how aesthetically “good” or “skilled” it is) and can include poetry, drawings, paintings, photographs, and other creative works (video of alternative dance, etc.). Your submission must be accompanied by an oral or written narrative expressing your unique reflection on how your submission captures your transformation. We welcome submissions in both English and Chinese, as well as bilingual submissions including English or Chinese and another language. 

Shortlisted submissions will be featured in an on-campus exhibition at Duke Kunshan University during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

The project is completely free and open to all ages, statuses, and abilities. Submissions are accepted from now until September 1st and will be evaluated on a rolling basis.

Share your artifacts and narratives with us at, and please specify which theme(s) and subthemes you would like to be considered for. 

The audience will vote for their 3 favorite student entries and the best 3 student submissions will receive a prize (more information will come at the end of the summer). 

由昆山杜克大学人文研究中心下设的第三空间研究室策划发起的《第三空间画像  :您的昆杜 /昆山故事》是一个社区项目,旨在创建一个记录昆杜人与昆山当地人的跨文化蜕变的独特群体故事。

《第三空间画像:您的昆杜 /昆山故事》将通过昆杜和昆山社区成员的个人经历,创建一个群体故事,以反映跨文化际遇所带来的转变。 第三空间研究室的《第三空间画像:您的昆杜 /昆山故事》征集活动希望对跨文化的个体和其独特背景进行归类,来反映个体和空间的转变。 第三空间研究室的愿景是我们的活动能鼓励人们进行反思,从而推动我们的社区继续前进。


  1. 语言和/或文化
  • 您在昆山杜克大学或昆山的(跨文化)经历怎样影响了您的语言或您对于语言的看法(包括中文,英语或其他语言)?
  • 您在昆山杜克大学或昆山的(跨文化)经历怎样影响了您看待(您的)文化和其他文化?
  1. 身份认同
    • 母语者与非母语者
    • 主流群体与边缘化群体
    • 自我与和他者
    • 内部群体与外部群体
  • 您的经历怎样定义或重新定义了您对于上述(通常意义上的)二分法的理解?
  • 在过去一两年,您的经历怎样影响了您对自己和他人的看法?原因是什么呢?
  • 在过去一两年,您的经历怎样影响了您与他人的关系(家庭,在家乡的朋友,结交的新朋友等)?
  • 在过去一两年,您的经历怎样影响了您的兴趣(个人,学术,专业等)?
  • 在过去一两年,您的经历怎样影响了您在不同的群体(家人,在家乡的朋友,结交的新朋友等)面前表现自己的身份?
  1. 空间
    • 公共空间与私人空间
    • 网络空间与面对面
    • 物理空间与思维空间
  • 此次疫情怎样重塑了您对上述空间的概念?
  • 您所处的新环境怎样影响了您对上述空间如何塑造您的身份的认识?



请将您的作品发送到此邮箱(,并且请标明您作品的参赛类别。 观众将对他们最喜欢的3个作品进行投票,并且最受欢迎的3个作品的作者将获得奖品(更多信息将在夏末时提供)。

Welcome to the Third Space Lab Research Assistants!

This month, the Third Space Lab recruited six new research assistants to help with our three interrelated research projects.

Read their bios below to see who joined us!

Dr. Zhang Xin’s project
Negotiating Third Space Personae: Foreign Professionals in Modern Chinese Workplace

Aya Lahlou

Aya Lahlou
My name is Aya Lahlou, I am a junior student majoring in Data Science. I am a research assistant at the Third Space Lab working on the project Negotiating Third Space Personae: Foreign Professionals in Modern Chinese Workplace. I am hoping to use this experience to deepen my knowledge about applied and social linguistics and ultimately apply it in my future signature work and career prospects. I believe this is a great place for me to reconcile my experience in data science and my passion for linguistics, especially as a prospective working professional in China. In my free time, I enjoy art, learning languages, and solving linguistics puzzles.

Cameron Page

Cameron Page
My name is Cameron. I am a DKU undergraduate student in the Class of 2023, and I intend to major in Global China Studies with a track in Political Science. I am delighted to be appointed as a Research Assistant for Professor Xin Zhang’s project, 
Negotiating Third Space Personae: Foreign Professionals in the Modern Chinese Workplace. I am confident that I will utilize this research experience, and my engagement with the wider Third Space Lab, to help fulfill my future goal of studying Chinese and East Asian law.  In my downtime, I like to watch Shark Tank, read up on Western and Southern Chinese societies, and play football. I am incredibly excited to come on board with Professor Zhang’s project and contribute to the wealth of knowledge produced by the Third Space Lab and greater Humanities Research Center.

Dr. Emmanuelle S. Chiocca’s project
Fostering Perspective Transformation in Intercultural Spaces

Hong Pham

Hong Pham
My name is Hong Pham and I use She/Her/Hers pronouns. I am a Junior majoring in Global Health Public Policy. I am working as a research assistant for the project Fostering Perspective Transformation in Intercultural Spaces. I plan to use this experience in relation to my future plans by developing my research skills. Furthermore, I would like to use the knowledge about international communication, education, and sociolinguistics for future experiences and understanding to work internationally in the global health field. Beyond my involvement in research and as a college student, in my spare time, I like to read, paint, and go on long walks with my dog, Bear.

Chunyuan Shen (Juno)

Chunyuan (Juno) Sheng
I am a junior student at Duke Kunshan University majoring in economics. I work as a research assistant on the project Fostering Perspective Transformation in Intercultural Spaces in Third Space Lab. I am enthusiastic about topics in interdisciplinary social science and am particularly interested in educational psychology. It is my ambition to contribute to developing an educational practice that can teach students to recognize themselves and find their unique life paths instead of simply following the herd.

Dr. Saghar Leslie Naghib’s project
Conflict Management & Personal Transformation in Intercultural Contexts

Ryan Trombly

Ryan Trombly
My name is Ryan Trombly from Arizona in the US and I am a member of the class of 2022. I am majoring in institutions and governance (public policy track) and am excited for the future of my academic career at DKU. I am a research assistant for the project Conflict Management & Personal Transformation in Intercultural Contexts, and am thrilled to be a part of a project that will actively study some of the most distinctive attributes that come with being a student at DKU. One of the most meaningful lessons that I have encountered at DKU- a lesson that is constantly evolving- is how to interact with a diverse student body who are all going through periods of immense personal growth. I feel that this specific field of research is very underdeveloped, thus the opportunity to assist in potentially groundbreaking research on conflict management and personal transformation- subject matters that I am currently trying to navigate- is enthralling to me.
My future goal is to work in an international setting like law or government, so any knowledge I can gather in conflict management and transformation will be invaluable. But regardless of my workplace, the ability to empathize with others who don’t share the same perspectives is increasingly critical. Cultivating this ability underlines all the projects of the Third Space Lab.
As soon as I get back to Kunshan, I’ll most likely be out hunting for the best milk tea or enjoying the few (but very tasty) international restaurants dotted around the city. On campus, I enjoy being involved in the PETAL lab, in the Duke East Asia Nexus club, and as a member of Bridge. In my free time, I love to write creatively, read books, and maybe take a nap or two.

Queena Zhong
As a third-year student at DKU, I am majoring in Environmental Science with Public Policy track but I maintain a strong passion for behavioral and cognitive psychology. I am assisting the project Conflict Management and Personal Transformation in Intercultural Contexts under Dr. Naghib. Despite my major, I continue to seek opportunities to enhance my knowledge and experience in psychology. I hope to use what I learn from this research experience on my signature work and other future projects. As a Chinese-American from California, I feel connected with both Chinese and American cultures and have a great interest in learning about various cultures. I am actively involved in student life, serving as a Resident Assistant for two years in a row and as the Co-chair for the Duke to DKU (D2D) Program under DKU Kunshan Student Ambassador Council (KSAC).


Third Space Lab to present at NAFSA Conference (2020 NAFSA eConnection)

The co-directors of the Third Space Lab will present on the online launch and subsequent workshops at the international NAFSA conference on May 27th. While the conference was originally planned in person, the organization decided to move online to allow researcher-practitioners and the international education community to connect.

It goes without saying that the events of this year have made our initial research and presentation goals rather difficult to achieve. Rather, most of the research on fields dealing with intercultural studies and international education will likely be exercises in damage control, or rather focused on the issues stemming directly from this crisis such as displacement and international tension.

This poster introduces how the Third Space Lab had to adapt its research agenda, launch, and workshops, to the current crisis. Continue reading “Third Space Lab to present at NAFSA Conference (2020 NAFSA eConnection)”

Report on the Launch of Third Space Lab

By Junyi Tao

Class of 2023

Third Space Lab (TSL) held its first launch event on April 6th at 9PM CST. Considering the COVID-19 epidemic, this event took the form of an online zoom meeting and was also recorded and posted on the TSL Sakai site. In total, 97 students, faculty, and staff from DKU and Duke, and from various institutions in China and in the US, attended this exciting event.

Third Space Lab is a research lab at Duke Kunshan University (DKU) which aims to, “accompany and understand students’ experiences and learning in intercultural spaces and encounters” by examining the transformation of multilingual identities both at DKU and abroad. Currently, TSL has a series of workshops and research projects led by co-directors Dr. Chiocca, Dr. Naghib, and Dr. Zhang. Currently, the co-directors are in the process of planning more interesting events in the future, such as panel discussions, other webinars, as well as forum discussions. Continue reading “Report on the Launch of Third Space Lab”

Third Space Lab – Research Assistants – Recruitment

We are looking for 4 undergraduate research assistants to support research projects and events sponsored by the Third Space Lab.

Preference will be given to those who are interested in the following fields: intercultural communication, international education, sociolinguistics (language, culture, and society), conflict resolution, and applied linguistics (focus on language learning), and who are interested in developing a Signature Work out of their work as student-researchers of the lab or out of their own Third-Space story-building and storytelling.

Please refer to the following information about current lab projects. Send your CV or resume to the corresponding principal investigator(s) with a short cover letter with a description of yourself and a short statement of interest explaining: 1) why you want to work on this part of the project, and 2) why you think you are a strong candidate for the position (what your skills and qualifications are, and what personal experiences may prepare you and help you to enrich this research project). You are encouraged to mention the name of a reference who can attest to your skills (no letter of recommendation needed).

Note: Given the current pandemic, the projects described below are subject to change and are based on the geographical location of students.

Please send your application materials via email by April 26th. Continue reading “Third Space Lab – Research Assistants – Recruitment”

Third Space Lab Launch

Date: Monday, April 6

Time: 9am US Eastern time / 9pm China time

Zoom Meeting ID: 599-474-290

Third Space Lab (TSL) welcomes the DKU community to participate in its launch. Dr. Zhang Xin, Dr. Naghib, and Dr. Chiocca will introduce the lab’s objectives, research projects, and workshops on international education. The highlight of the launch is the talk by Dr. Darla Deardorff, on “Developing Habits for an Intercultural Lifestyle,” followed by a Q&A session. This event will be recorded and posted on the Third Space Lab Sakai site for all to view.

Below is the partial recording of the launch. The full recording along with Dr. Deardorff’s PPT slides are available on the Third Space Lab Sakai site. If you are interested in accessing the Third Space Lab Sakai site, please email the co-directors to get enrolled.

Featured Speaker: Dr. Darla K. Deardorff, Duke University

Talk: Developing Habits for an Intercultural Lifestyle

Abstract: What is intercultural competence? What competencies are needed to get along together across differences? And what are some key habits for living an intercultural lifestyle? Join in this interactive discussion to explore together some key competencies and habits that help navigate across differences, whatever those differences may be (including cultural, gender, generational, religious, socio-economic and so on). Developing these habits can lead to more positive relationships as well as to greater success in a wide variety of intercultural contexts. Continue reading “Third Space Lab Launch”