Better student reception aim of course on cultural differences

What are you used to? This was the question that twenty five eager course participants seized on when they gathered to investigate cultural differences in order to better meet the various needs of international students.


The course in intercultural communication aimed to increase awareness of intercultural encounters and the misunderstandings that can arise.

Every year, Lund University welcomes around a thousand students from all over the world. The students come both for short periods of study and for entire Master’s degree programmes lasting two years. During two intensive days in November, there was a gathering of administrators and course directors who work with these students on courses and programmes taught in English.

They attended a course in intercultural communication which aimed to provide increased knowledge of intercultural meetings and the misunderstandings that can arise. The objective was the professional development of the participants to enable them better to manage expectations and differences, challenges and opportunities. Through practical exercises and review of material, the idea was that each participant would find elements of the course they could adapt to their group of students.

“I got a lot out of these two days”, says Isabella Jönsson from External Relations. “Above all, it is important to be aware of one’s own ‘baggage’ – culture, background, values and norms – but also to remember that it is easy to talk at cross-purposes if you don’t start by asking the person you meet – what are you used to?”

After the course, the participants decided to start a discussion forum for intercultural communication, where those interested can share good ideas while helping each other to set up introductory seminars at the start of new semesters.

“This course has given us tools to become a more inclusive university” says Sofia Rosendahl from the Department of Business Law.

The course was given by Bernadette van Houten at Consultants Intercultural Communication, as part of quality enhancement work within the administration, KIA.

Text and photos: Karin Frydenlund


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