Monday, 28 May 2012

ICC IP - Intercultural Communicative Competence in Zwolle, the Netherlands

Last intensive programme for me is over. I was supposed to go to the Netherlands already last spring, but because of family reasons I had to give up that trip then. Luckily I had a second chance this year, and now afterwards I’m really happy that I got it.

We travelled to Amsterdam just few days before the national festival days. From Amsterdam we travelled to Zwolle and Heino, where the IP was organised. The first day in Heino was just settling us in, trying to find a supermarket and getting to know people who arrived there at the same time as we did. On the next day we started really getting to know each others and with different kind of team building games it was fun and easy. On Sunday evening and Monday we had the chance to get to know the Dutch culture better due to the Queen’s Day. When seeing people happy in the city centre, dancing on the streets and enjoying the beautiful evening it was easy to be happy yourself, too.

Thereafter it was back to business. We worked in our international teams, we had really good lectures on several topics and we were supposed to think how we can get our international group to operate as an international team. What kind of problems we might face during the process, and what are the reasons why those problems can appear.  

Also intercultural communication, how to be creative and getting out of the box (your comfort zone) and going with the flow were really interesting topics. One of the most interesting lectures was done by the German teacher, who took the English teacher with her. They sat in front of the class, trying to figure out how the English teacher can reach the top level of his creativity. It was really interesting to follow that conversation. The German teacher asked questions from him, listened him, and they tried together to find the way to the top level.  It was a different kind of a lecture that I had used to, but definitely an interesting one and a good lecture.

In my team there were students from Finland, Lithuania, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, Thailand and Taiwan. I liked my team a lot, and I don’t think we had bigger problems working together, although our backgrounds were very different. Our project was big and difficult, and it was about doing business in Argentina, when the head office is Canadian and located in Canada. It was really interesting to find a good solution how we would do if we had the possibility to solve the problems in that kind of company. I learned a lot of new things, and I think that the differences between our team members were a good thing, because I now know a lot about different working styles, and for myself it was a good thing to work in a more academic way.

Besides the studies we had the chance to experience the Liberation Day, too and to eat on the famous pancake boat, to spend an evening in a traditional Dutch farm and eat traditional Dutch food. It was great that they organized for us those things too, because these kind of activities are a good way to get to know the local culture, but also to spend time together. This way you get to know also other people than just your own team members.
Ten days in Zwolle went really fast, but I think that one of the most important assignments was done; we got a lot of new friends, contacts all over the world, and we learned a lot from other countries and cultures. I’m thankful that I had this opportunity, and I know that it will be really useful in my future.

Pia Dag
TAMK student

Pia Dag, TAMK & Jamille ter Steege, Business School , Windesheim University of Applied Sciences

Information about the ICC IP 2012:
Intercultural Communicative Competence – ICC IP was organized in Zwolle, the Netherlands. The objective of the IP ICC was to bring students from different cultures to work together in multinational teams in order to find out how to communicate in intercultural business management situations and to familiarize with different working styles and cultural differences and similarities. Students worked in international teams and all teams had company cases to work with. The coordinators of the IP were Marianne van Vlierden and Jamille ter Steege from Business School, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences. From Tampere University of Applied Sciences students Pia Dag, Olga Lvova, Antje Bruns, Andor Csatordai, Hajnalka Patócs and Sotirios Tzounas participated the IP. Pirkko Varis from TAMK was the coordinator of the team from Finland.

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