120999 Intercultural competence - Changing perspectives in a diverse (working) environment

Lecture and exercise
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Zechmeister, Helena , Piringer, Ulrike
Offered in
Wintersemester 2023/24
Languages of instruction


Classes will be held on October 6, 13 and 20 and on January 26, 10:00-13:15.

Places are given on the basis of "first come, first serve". To guarantee the success of the course the lecturers reserve the right to choose a group of diverse backgrounds. All registrations will be on the waiting list, the fixed places will be confirmed on October 2.

Acting successfully in the professional global world requires more than expertise in your scientific field and language skills. Studying abroad helps you to understand challenges and benefit from cultural diversity. But is the experience abroad enough to develop sound Intercultural Competence?
This class does not give you concrete instructions how to negotiate in China or how to collaborate with colleagues from a specific country, but provides you with a general toolkit to feel more comfortabe in unfamiliar cultural situations – wether 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 seen as an advantage.

The course addresses three target groups: BOKU students, who have preferably already applied for an exchange semester (Erasmus+ , Ceepus, Joint Study,…), exchange/international students currently at BOKU and BOKU students who have just returned from their stay abroad. (To have an enriching course environment, the lecturers reserve the right to choose a group of mixed cultures and 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) followed by your perception of cultural differences (stereotypes/prejudices/discrimination and ethnocentrism). How can you shift perspectives? How can you prevent intercultural conflicts and communicate in an appropriate and effective? How can you deal with cultural transitions 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 gained 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 intercultural phenomena (cultural differences, sterotypes/prejudices/discriminaton and ethnocentrism)
- be able to re-evaluate and reflect their own communication styles and behaviours
- be able to understand and apply knowledge and skills in daily interactions in their intercultural workind and living environment
- 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.