As a cross-cultural consultant, Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and coaches foreigners how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native-born coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture.
Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. (A funny story about that if you ask him.)
Alan holds a bachelors degree in German (Albion College), a masters degree in English (University of Wisconsin), and a masters degree in Applied Linguistics (University of Michigan). This past year, Alan launched a new talk show called Feel Like You Belong with his wife, Kim Roberts, a professor of film and video at Grand Valley State University. Feel Like You Belong tells the stories of immigrants to the U.S. and the challenges they face in making this confusing place their new home.
Alan believes that with the right education and positive attitude, members of very disparate cultures can learn to get along.