Topic outline

  • Intercultural approach

    Living in a new culture can be an exhilarating, personally rewarding and intellectually stimulating experience. It can also have its frustrations. It is one thing to visit a country, moving on when you have seen or had enough, and it is quite another to live there and function according to a different set of norms.   

    Primary teamwork consists of recognising and appreciating the differences and similarities and learning how to deal with them. 

    In a multicultural society groups with diverse ethnic and cultural background coexist, each one preserving its own identity. This situation does not automatically imply:

    • Exchange and mutual communication;
    • Attention towards the others, their values, their history;
    • A respectful attitude towards diversity.

    All these elements are characteristic of an intercultural approach.

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  • The intercultural shock

    In the new environment, participants to mobility experiences find themselves – in everyday life and work situations – with a wide variety of people.  No matter which project they are in, participants have to develop and keep relationships with people from a different cultural and social background.

    Interpersonal skills developed in an intercultural context are transferable to many other situations in life. An intercultural experience:

    • allows to deepen interest a sensibility towards the others, a better empathy;
    • increases adaptability to changing social circumstances, more flexibility to adapt to new people, social situations, and/or cultural rules;
    • allows to give more value to human diversity;
    • enhance the will to communicate;
    • allow to be less shy and more willing to take part in social meeting.

    But the more participants experience the life in a different country, the more they start facing inevitable difficulties and misunderstandings affecting their emotions and perceptions.

    The first reaction is to attribute these difficulties to personal inabilities or to bad project management, so it is important for participants to be prepared about the physiological steps of culture adaptation.

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