120999 Intercultural competence - Acting effectively in an international environment

Lecture and exercise
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Piringer, Ulrike , Liebl, Agnes
Offered in
Sommersemester 2021
Languages of instruction


Acting successfully in the professional global world requires more than expertise in your scientific field and language skills. Studying abroad helps you to face this challenge and benefit from cultural diversity. But is the experience abroad enough to develop sound Intercultural Competence?

This class provides you with a toolkit to react to new cultural situations – no matter if you plan to go abroad or are currently struggling with becoming acquainted with BOKU/ Austria. Furthermore you will learn to analyse and use your intercultural expertise in your further working life. Cultural diversity is understood as an advantage. The concept of global learning refers to the engagement with complex, interdependent global systems and legacies (i.e. natural, physical, social, cultural, economic, and political) and their implications for people’s lives and the earth’s sustainability.

The course addresses three target groups: BOKU students, who have already applied for an exchange semester (Erasmus+ , Ceepus, Joint Study), international (exchange) students currently at BOKU and BOKU students who have just returned from their stay abroad. (To guarantee the success of the course the lecturers reserve the right to choose a group of mixed nationalities.)

First of all you will become familiar with the major concepts of intercultural competence and global learning. This theoretical input will then be immediately put into practice by using the participants’ different backgrounds and different experiences of communication styles, behaviours and other cultural practices. Increasing your awareness of your own culture and cultural sensitivity in general will be the first focus (keywords: culture, identity, self-image, stereotypes) followed by your perception of cultural differences (cultural dimensions, values, behaviour, cultural standards). How can you shift perspectives? How can you prevent intercultural conflicts and communicate effectively? How can you deal with culture shocks and have a successful re-entry after your stay abroad? You will learn to re-evaluate and reflect on your own communication styles and behaviours and find the right way to describe your intercultural skills.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

Dependent on the students’ prior experiences, graduates of the course will

be aware of and understand how culture affects their and other people’s behaviour

be able to reflect, analyse and interpret cultural differences (cultural dimensions, values, behaviour, standards) and intercultural phenomena

be able to re-evaluate and reflect their own communication styles and behaviours

be able to apply strategies to acting in a successful and responsible manner in an international context

be able to describe their intercultural competence and to integrate it into their future personal and professional life
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.