AiB Staff Successfully Completes a Workshop on Intercultural Competence/International Leadership with Certification.


iB’s program coordinators and staff haven’t been sitting idly but have been using the past months to learn and educate themselves on various topics.  
Recently, we engaged in an interactive three-day workshop on ‘Intercultural Competence/International Leadership’. The workshop was led by Rike Pätzold who specializes in intercultural communication, uncertainty management, and international leadership. Rike herself has lived in several countries on a total of three continents, so her insights and perspectives made her perfectly suited to expand upon our own intercultural knowledge and experiences. As such, the workshop was a great opportunity for us to continue learning, reflecting on our own experiences and perspectives, as well as expanding our own knowledge and competences on how to better help and lead students from various and diverse backgrounds navigate the uncertainties of living in a new culture and environment.  
Each day was dedicated to a different competence or skill, all relating back to a broader intercultural understanding and knowledge.  On Day 1, we focused on the meaning of culture itself, discussing different cultural concepts, research models and academic perspectives. Day 2 was a more interactive day, focusing on self-competence. Understanding and becoming aware of one’s own desires, needs, personality traits, and cultural ‘lens’ is an essential component of being able to learn how to approach and navigate different cultures and mindsets.  
Day 3 focused on relationship and communication competence. We discussed how to effectively and respectfully convey information, meaning and emotion while considering and being aware of the different cultural and personal backgrounds of our diverse student body.  
Janette Yamanian summarized the three days as a very interactive experience that taught her varied ways to talk about cultures that we can pass on to our students. While the workshop deepened her own understanding of herself and her own culture, it also improved her existing skills of communicating across cultures and leading intercultural and diverse groups. Overall, the workshop also helped us a team to grow closer – especially important in these challenging times for academia and study abroad.  
“It was a great opportunity for us to come together as a team and to learn about, reflect on, and become more aware of our own cultural perspectives. As AiB coordinators, we all have experiences of living abroad and trying to find our footing in a new culture, 
but the skills we learned and deepened will certainly be very helpful when communicating and interacting with our students and will benefit them greatly, as the workshop gave us a lot of practical insights and tips on how to help our students feel even more at home in Germany and its culture”, said Mara Teresa Minkler.  
Overall, everyone agreed that the workshop was a great learning opportunity, strengthening us as a team, that it will support us in leading future student groups and help our students with navigating a new culture.