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Intercultural Competence for Arabic Countries

This seminar is designed to address and discuss the cultural knowledge necessary for students to understand the cultural behavior and customs of the Arab world and to be able to draw conclusions about their lifestyle and other influences.

The material is organized so that students first receive an overview of the Arab world’s geographical conditions and the unique differences among the various Arab countries. Islamic values and ways of viewing the world will also be discussed. We will also focus on and analyze the various issues caused by prejudice from both the Western and Arab world within the scope of so-called culture shock and cultural clashes. This discussion will also include gender-specific roles in society.

Learning Goals:

  • Learning about and understanding intercultural differences
  • Acting and reacting appropriately in context
  • Understanding the role of religion
  • European perspectives on the Arab world and vice versa
  • Handling conflict

Course Requirements:

You must speak German at minimum UNIcert II level in order to follow the lessons.

Instructor:

Dr. Moustafa Selim

Further information at TUCaN.

Intercultural Competence for Engineers in the Context of an International Automotive Supply Firm

The everyday professional working life of engineering degree graduates is increasingly influenced by internationality, insecurity, complexity, heterogeneity, and difference, regardless of which branch they are working in. In this regard, job postings regularly demand intercultural skills, but what exactly are these skills? This practice-oriented project seminar will acquaint students with the issues behind this question within the framework of a semester-long case study of a company supplying automotive parts. Students will also learn about potential chances and opportunities for developing business negotiation strategies in such contexts.

Learning Goals: On the basis of the case study, students will be introduced to the theme of ‘Intercultural Competence’. The case study is designed to give students the ability to meet the demands, challenges and opportunities of their future professional working lives on a practical and theoretical basis. At the same time they will be engaging in team work in the form of mixed groups. At the end of the seminar, these groups will present their results and joint work from the case study in a poster presentation. This process will reflect the international teams that students will encounter in their future careers and allow them to cope constructively with cultural differences. The seminar will be enhanced with the Moodle Platform, virtual classrooms and other media support.

Course Requirements: Regular, active participation, a portfolio, and poster presentation in the last section of the seminar

Course Requirements:

In order to participate in this project seminar, attendance is mandatory at the Kick-Off session. The remainder of the sessions will take the form of a compact course every two weeks on Saturdays during the semester.

International students must provide evidence of proficiency in German at the C1 level in order to take part in this seminar. The language used in the seminar will be predominantly German, although English may be used in certain sections of the course, such as ‘English as a Lingua France’, for example. Because the seminar involves intercultural team work, students from both German and non-German backgrounds are warmly welcome to take part in this case studies seminar.

The seminar is specifically aimed at students who are working on projects with classmates from other countries and who are interested in careers that involve working in international teams and learning how to work constructively with differences. The seminar content will build a bridge between relevant theoretical input and practise.

Target group: German and international students enrolled in Master’s degree engineering programs, as well as undergraduates nearing the end of their Bachelor’s degree.

Further Grading Information:

For the introduction to working with a virtual classroom, students are asked to bring along their own laptop and headphones. In the introductory session we will become familiar with the technology required to be able to work virtually and across locations this semester.

Instructor:

M. A. Alexandra Stang

Further information at TUCaN

Intercultural Knowledge Communication and Sharing Competencies

Knowledge communication does not only differ in terms of what is communicated (knowledge in context rather than isolated data or information) but also how one communicates his or her expertise. In other words: Knowledge communication and transfer of experiences, insights, and know-how have become a key competence in our globalized world in recent years, not only for students in institutions of Higher Education but also for staff in companies and other organizations, where people from different countries and social backgrounds come together and interact. Bearing this in mind, intercultural skills and knowledge dialogues come into play. But what does this mean and what theoretical concepts are lying behind this? How can I take advantage from this as a international exchange student currently studying in Darmstadt or planning my exchange with one of the partner institutions in one of the coming semesters? In the seminar we will develop together a framework for intercultural knowledge communication and sharing competencies together. Communicating expertise-based, complex insights requires special skills. Therefore you will learn how to describe a field of agency of your choice and you will learn how to communicate your cultural expertise relevant to your studies without necessarily producing stereotypes. In order to achieve this we will first talk about knowledge, communication, culture, intercultural competence and combine this with practical exercises. The documents and material you will produce during the semester will be used to create an innovative intercultural learning scenario and guide for your peers and fellow students to prepare their international study experiences in advance and gain first insight what to expect before they leave.

Course Requirements:

This project-based seminar is open to German and international BA and MA students of any subject and offers the chance to build sustainable networks. It will take place for the first time and you are welcome to join in, participate actively and bring in your own ideas and wishes. As a prerequisite, the seminar concept requires a hands-on.-mentality, a genuine interest in basic theoretical concepts, an openness dealing with foreign experiences and intercultural encounters in a constructive manner. To complete the seminar successfully, it is mandatory to participate in the kick-off-session.

Instructor:

M. A. Alexandra Stang

Further Information at TUCaN.

Megacities – Conducting an intercultural negotiation simulation game

Simulation games are enjoying more and more popularity in both professional and academic contexts. In addition, for some time they have been valued in intercultural contexts. They are seen as not only an innovative teaching and learning method to introduce the issue of intercultural competence to various groups, but also as a tool for practising these skills and ultimately to reflect on and develop strategies to optimize such competence.

Megacities: How does a simulation game work?

An older, wealthy resident bequeaths a piece of land approximately 100 km square in size to three neighbouring cities. His condition: that the three cities use the land for cooperative projects that benefit all of them.

The members of each team work as consultants for one of the three cities with the task of producing an appropriate plan for the development of this piece of land. In this way, the land becomes a cultural sphere of actors involving the three neighbouring cities. The ultimate goal is to create a compatible, over-arching plan, one which satisfies the interests of each city on the one hand, and, on the other hand, persuades the land donor with its integrative and holistic orientation.

This semester-long course will be offered in combination with virtual online conference-style meetings across several universities. Time zone differences will have to be taken into account, and may take place in either German or English, depending on the participant make-up.

The live- conference dates will be determined at the beginning of the semester. These meetings will be accompanied by appropriate debriefings and material on intercultural negotiations. The course is aimed at advanced Bachelor’s and Master’s students from all faculties who are interested in developing their intercultural negotiation skills and who would like to learn about team work in a multi-location virtual environment. For questions about the seminar format, please contact Alexandra Stang, research assistant for intercultural competence at: astang@spz.tu-darmstadt.de Participation in this seminar is limited to 12 students.

Course Requirements:

You must speak German or English at B2/C1 level in order to follow the lessons.

Instructor:

M. A. Alexandra Stang

Further information at TUCaN.