Intercultural Communication


Own socialization, self-image and motivation, cultural baggage

Working forms

Acedemic articles, Presentations, Videoes / Ted Talks, Discussion, Essay


2 x Essay & Group assignment

Individual assignment

Overall this course obligate you to reflect on how we are different from one another. When you understand this, cooperation and social connections can be empowered.

In intercultural constellations, it can be hard to know if you are dealing with differences because of culture or personality. Or both. We have been asked to approach these questions through articles, Ted Talks and by reflecting on personal experiences.


In the first class we made a short presentation about ourselves evolving an experience with a cultural difference. When you are forced to think about how you are different, the good stories are often forgotten. Therefor I will also add a funny fact, which Kevin (classmate) made me aware off, after he visited Copenhagen in October

Besides this you will find my 2 individuelle essays about culture differences, important take aways from Ted Talks and our group assignment.

Personal presentation (September)

Danish people are in general private and keep to themselves – which means we don’t approach strangers on the street or start talking personal things with people we just met. We mainly open up if we know people really well or after the right amount of beer.

In my first week here, this guy came to me and started talking about a flyer which was next to me. He started a conversation. I was immediatly suspicious. Thinking he was trying to trick me to buy something or wanted to steal something from me. This doesn't mean we won't talk to you. If you approach a Dane, they will help you and talk to you. It's only wierd when you stick around to talk for longer.

In Central Amerika people are really open, helpful and quickly starts chatting with you. I was in LA for three weeks and Americans treats you like you are a friend after an hour together. For a Dane (for me) it takes much longer.

The same goes here. Dutch people doesn't look at you as if you were and alien, if you talk to them. Sharing personal things seems to very common together with being very straight forward.

Kevins story (october)

Before the Dutch Design Week, Kevin went to Copenhagen on a schooltrip. He wrote me while he was there, if I had a good advise for what to do and see, what to eat and drink ect. I sended a list of typical danish things to eat, like Flæskesteg, Tarteletter, Rugbrød, and told him to drink Snaps, Milk and Carlsberg. I advised him to skip the little Mermaid, because that is a disappointment to many.

When he came back I asked him how the trip was. He told me that it was an amazing place. Then he looked at me and asked me: "What is up with the babies and strollers left outside cafees, houses and stores?" I told him, that we in Denmark leave babies sleeping outside in the cold, because it's healthy for them to sleep in the cold, while it's also more quiet.

After seing his face expression (and everyones elses that was around us), I asked other international students about this. This made me realize that noone else is leaving babies in strollers outside. And other nationalities actually think we are crazy when it comes to this.

But in Denmark we don't steal babies. Bicycles yes, glasses and signs from Pubs yes, but not babies.

Essay 1

This essay will benchmark the article from Bennett, M. J. (2004) Becoming interculturally competent. This showcase his work studying cross-cultural situations, applying the DMIS model: Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity.

When people become more interculturally competent they move from Ethnocentrism to Ethnorelativism. On a scale you can range from Denial (Ethnocentrism) to Integration (Ethnorelativism).

I will reflect on the major items/discussion points in the article, my own stage in the model and how to evolve to the next stage.


How Culture Drives Behaviours

What I take with me:
Politeness is a concept which is very much culturally related. It’s a group of norms and social codes that everyone obeys to, so that communication goes well in society, and in certain societies it is very strict. You have a way to talk, and you have a way to behave.

How language shapes the way we think

What I take with me:
Accidents in english: I broke my arm. Something you would never be able to say in other languages. Affects your memory of the event. And also who you blame for the accident. And eye witness situations.

How language transformed humanity

What I take with me:
Language’s power has been recognized throughout history though censorship think of books that are illegal and words we are not allowed to speak. Also the story of the tower of babel explains how powerful language is.

Group assignment

For the group assignment, we were asked to develop a tool which makes it possible to help connect/understand/develop diversity in different cultures. It should include the important findings we did when working with the TED talks. It has to:

• Benefit diversity
• Let participants observe, learn and understand cultural difference
• Changing cultural glasses


Since we as a group has worked with gamification through the semester, it kind of came natural to develop a type of game. We decided early in the proces, that people should be able to play with our tool.

The end-product is very different from where we started. Usertests with fellow students and feedback session in class was really helpfull to develop the tool and has effected changed, as you will see below.

Concept Explanation


The target group depends on the event. The goal is to have as many nationalities in one game.


A tool that in its core shows statements. Every participant shows his/hers opinion in a physical space. They discuss their choices with each other.


In schools, companies or at events like Dutch Design Week.


This concept brings people together. Every type or nationality has people with different views on pacific subjects. And so we show that not everything is as black or white as we think and it sparks conversation between people with different opinions.


During events at schools or in public. So that large groups can participate.

Statement Examples

• Gay marriges are wrong

• Marrige is outdated

• Foreigners shouldn't be allowed to vote

• Military service should be mandatory

• Smoking should be banned worldwide

• Soft drugs should be legalized everywhere

• We do not really need religion

• Video games contribute to better learning opportunities

• Corporal punishment should be allowed in schools

• The difference between rich and poor is to big

• Woman and men should have equal rights

Participants will see the statement on the screen. They then move to the line that match their opinion. The AI on the screen will ask them to discuss their opinion with one that thinks different. When the discussion is over, they will see statistics on how nationalities answered this question.

Essay 2

This essay is a reflection on how it has been to work in a intercultural group. Through the semester we have changes each others perspective and have learned to embrace the differences.

The essay is written from my experience but will include an illustration and theory from author Julien S. Bourrelle's TEDx Talk "How Culture Drives Behaviour" from 2015.

I do not think I would have changed my perception on schoolwork as much, without working with it as we did in this course. The last part is a recommendation for how to be effecient in future multiculture constallations.


Learning goals

The student is competent in intercultural contexts showing intercultural sensitivity, intercultural knowledge and intercultural skills. The quality of the work is sufficient when the student has shown to:

➔ Reflect on own socialization, self-image and motivation and have knowledge about own cultural baggage

➔ Reflect on professional practice in different intercultural models

➔ Have a vision on working in intercultural group

Reflection: individual assignment

Through this course I have learned a great deal about patience, listening, being open-minded and accepting that things work different in the Netherlands. I mean all of these abilities comes from working with Dutch students, but learning how to handle the differences comes from this course. Especially the essay made me realize, that I was not as culutral competent as I would like to think. This is something I will take with me when I move to Vienna for my internship.

Reflection: group assignment

Some statements can be very sensitive to talk about. It might not be everyone who wants to tell their honest opinion on death penalty or abortion. It can be hard to know for us (4 Dutch students and 1 Danish). We don't mind talking about subjects like this. We are all coming from a place, where it is accepted to have a different opinion than your friends and family. This concept works in theory, but we need nationalities that are radically different from our own to test this.