Montag, 28. Juli 2014

Beyond the wall

Two groups of students met independently for a specific workshop on intercultural communication divided by the room wall. But nowadays even walls are not built to last…

On June 28th, DIU-lecturer Philo Holland crossed the borders with a new workshop-concept on intercultural communication for students of the German MBA-program "Economics and Law" and international students of DIU. These two groups not knowing each other (and not knowing of each other either) prepared an individual task before they met all of a sudden… Let’s hear the opinion of single workshop members, Olga Galchenko (Logistics Management) and Kerstin Denke (Economics and Law):

What did you expect from this workshop?

 "I expected the workshop to be like a regular class just more practical and outside of the main program. I thought we were going to speak about psychology of different cultures, how to communicate with different nationalities without actual learning about their culture, what is acceptable and what is not, how to make group work efficient. I thought there will be some theoretical information, but even more case examples."

 "I expected to learn something about myself. First of all we did a small self-assessment to find out who we are and which cultural type fits best to us. I was curious whether "typical German" characteristics and peculiarities may be the case for me."

What actually happend during the workshop?

 "Mr Holland explained us from the very beginning that we were there to help students from MBA Economics and Law practice in organising group work with people from different countries. We were to become their project team. He offered us some basic information about different types of personalities and cultures. Then we did psychological test to determine the type of our behaviour and according to the result we were mixed with the German MBA group and separated in 4 groups. We were assigned a task and given time to prepare. We had only 30 minutes to finish our project with the people we just met. It was challenging. But in the end all 4 groups completed successfully their task. Group 4 actually had different task than the other 3. Their role was to observe other 3 groups and then present their findings to everyone. So everyone got a feedback from the 4th party. It was interesting, fun and enlightening."

 "The workshop was a total surprise and touched me a lot. First we were asked to prepare a short presentation on DIU. Philo gave us a certain time slot and said international students waited for our presentation as they wanted to know more about DIU. Okay, he wanted to challenge us and put us under pressure, I thought. But things turned out very differently. My expectations were off the mark as everything happened exactly as Philo had said. The wall of the seminar room was lifted and about 20 pairs of eyes were looking at us. Bulgarians, Chinese, Indians, they were all listening to our presentation. After this we have been divided into several mixed groups and developed commonly a presentation for a DIU-stand."

How would you assess the day as a whole?

 "Even though the beginning was a bit disappointing, as my expectations didn't meet the reality, the workshop was quite enjoyable. I had fun, learned more about myself and people around me, made some new friends. BBQ helped us to communicate in a more stress free environment and to compare our opinions about the day. Generally speaking, I enjoined this workshop and hope we'll have something like that in the future."

 "For me, the whole day was an incredible experience! It showed me that there are different kinds of people with different characteristics. It was amazing to realize how crusty paradigms and preconceived opinions were abandoned as reality simply turned out different. It touched me a lot and I had to process a few things internally after the workshop. It was a great surprise and a wonderful experience that ended with a collective barbeque on a cosy note."

We would like to thank Philo Holland for his great workshop idea as well as all participants for their dedication. And Brazil and Chile for such an exciting football match. Hopefully there will be more cross-program events like this in the future!

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