Everything you don´t learn in the lab

Intercultural communication and awareness

Topic area
Science communication

Online or in-house workshop

2-3 webinars of 2-2.5 h each = 1-1.5 workshop days

Karin Bodewits or Susanne Dranaz

Target group
PhD students, postdocs and junior group leaders


As a scientist, we often work in a cross-cultural setting. Our research groups are international, we collaborate around the globe, and most of us will spend part -or even all- of our career abroad. We can and should feel privileged to work in such a diverse and intercultural work environment. But these cultural and -of course- also individual differences can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings. These misunderstandings can lead to various undesired consequences, such as failed collaborations, frustrations, feelings of hurt, anxiety and anger, culture shock and missed opportunities for knowledge transfer.

Cultural awareness is the first step in sidestepping these undesired consequences. We can improve our cross-cultural relations and tap from the full potential of your intercultural teams.


In this course you´ll learn about:


  • About (your) culture
  • About communication and other challenges that might arise from cultural differences.
  • What steps you can take to understand culture and be more effective in handling cultural communication differences.


Your efforts should:

  • Improve the effectiveness of your international and interdisciplinary collaborations
  • Avoid miscommunication in the professional and private setting
  • Make you see the beauty of this ‘wonderful intercultural science mess’

All participants receive a script of the course in PDF format for offline and future use so that they can work through the material offline as well as after the course.


Interested to read more about this topic? You might like Karin´s article in Science Careers: Science is a team effort, but communication differences can undermine that. Erin Meyer´s The culture map is a highly readable and informative book about the workshop content. 

This workshop has lots of relevance for gender and diversity. Other workshops, which can be useful in this context are Staff selection, biases and stereotypes and Negotiation.

Course Flow Online Workshops

Day 1

Live Webinar

  • What is culture?
  • How does culture influence how we communicate and see the world?
  • Cultureshock


  • Individual and group course work (online and offline)
Day 2

Live Webinar

  • Recognising communicative patterns
  • Become more effective and targeted when communicating


  • Individual and group course work (online and offline)
Weeks 2-3
Individual written or oral feedback from the instructor
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