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4.1 Intercultural Communication


Every person is unique, because of his/her origin, education, personal course of life and professional career. The differences of every individual have an influence on relationships and communication with others. What should we have in mind concerning these differences?


By having an eye for differences, you:

  • reduce prejudices,
  • prevent misunderstandings, conflicts,
  • avoid that one offends each other,
  • make mutual appreciation possible and reinforce it,
  • have eye for the strengths and competences of the individual and plan the internship on that basis.

It is essential that you are very patient with trainees who have poor language skills. Words and expressions, which you think are easy to understand, can have different meanings in other cultures.


  1. Slow down when you speak to new trainees.
  2. Separate questions: try not to ask double questions.
  3. Avoid negative questions: they can cause misunderstandings.
  4. Take turns to talk and then listen to the response.
  5. Recommend your trainees to write down the points for checking and understanding.
  6. Be supportive: encourage and inspire everybody to speak.
  7. Check understanding: never assume the other party has understood what you meant.
  8. Avoid slang and dialect: even the most well educated foreigner will not understand you.
  9. Make the humour appropriate. Think if your joke will be understood in the foreign culture.
  10. Maintain etiquette.

You can read the complete text in the document Tips for Managing Intercultural Communication.


Do not only take the cultural context into account, but pay attention to the total individual personality.