Bridging across cultural differences

Course schedule

Dates Start time End time Location Coordinator    
28 November and 12 December 2018 09:00 17:00 Impulse, Wageningen Campus Marjolijn Dannenburg Add to waiting list
Pre-registration list Marjolijn Dannenburg Apply

Course description

During your career, including now during your PhD, you will interact with people from different cultures: students you supervise or teach, colleagues, people within your project you need to collaborate with, your supervisors. You may benefit from this cultural diversity, enriching your views and experiences; but it may also lead to misunderstandings, a mismatch in expectations, and even conflicts. This course focuses on how you can learn to overcome such cultural differences.

How we cope with cultural differences is a question that sees its relevance every day in our university and the broader academic world, with internationalism and striving for excellence at the core of its daily practice and strategy. Be it in a team or classroom, departmental setting or board meeting, understanding the way cultural difference influence communication can show you how you can increase the level of collaboration, successful decision-making, greater customer satisfaction, an enhanced ability to reach strategic goals and improved outcomes. It allow you to deal with biases and blind spots unknowingly blurring our view and blocking effective, inclusive behavior. If you want to learn and experience how to deal with, value and enjoy diversity in multi-cultural settings, this two-day workshop is made for you.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of these two days training participants will be able to:

  • understand the ways cultures can differ in values that make the difference in cooperating
  • apply different (nonverbal) communication styles, discussion styles and conflict resolution styles in their practical work as PhD and learn how to overcome obstacles
  • recognize cultural patterns of problem resolution and apply several strategies
  • shift perspective and adapt behaviour to (cultural) differences
  • respond to stereotyping and excluding behaviours
  • see diversity as a source of creativity in their future careers.
  • apply the learning outcomes to project work, guiding MSc students, dealing with supervisors, or meetings with others abroad.
  • have fun together.


During the training and workshops we will work in an interactive way together. There is space for group work, discussion, video, case-studies. PhD students will reflect on experiences and make meaning of them to develop intercultural competency. We will also experience and discuss (in depth) several phenomenon’s as part of cultural sensitivity.

General Information

Target Group: - Incoming and home PhD candidates who prepare an international career
- International PhD candidates
The training is interesting for PhDs who plan to go abroad or return home. The training is open for PhDs who are open to improve their intercultural future competences.
Group size: Max. 15  participants
Course duration: 2 full days and one 45-minutes individual session with the trainer
Language: English
Credit points: 0.7 ECTS
Self-study hours: none
Name lecturer: Dr. Marijke van Oppen, Senior Educational consultant and Intercultural Trainer at Wageningen University. ESD&PS: Educational Staff Development & PhD Services.
She has worked in the field of international communication, education and development for more than 15 years. Delivers trainings in the field of intercultural communication teaching and learning at several Universities in NL and abroad. She is a Certified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and educated at The Intercultural Communication Institute (Portland Oregon).
Venue: All participants receive a message about the course location a few weeks before the start date of the course.


Day 1:

  • Culture and cultural competency for future careers
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • The Intercultural Development Continuum (with practising)
  • Value dimensions that make a difference
  • Communication styles
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication

Individual assessment with trainer between day 1 and day 2:

Day 2:

  • Discussion styles and conflict resolution
  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Recognizing cultural patterns of problem resolution and apply several strategies
  • Giving and receiving feedback without loss of face
  • Shift perspective and adapt behaviour to (cultural) differences like hierarchy
  • Respond on stereotyping and excluding behaviours


1) Reduced fee:
  • PhD candidates of Wageningen University with an approved Training and Supervision Plan (TSP) who are registered at one of the WU graduate schools (EPS, PE&RC, VLAG, WASS, WIAS, WIMEK)
  • Postdocs of Wageningen University who are registered at one of the WU graduate schools
€ 35,-
2) University fee: All other PhD candidates / Wageningen University post-docs € 100,-

Fee includes study and training material, coffee/tea and lunch on the first day.

Cancellation condition

You may cancel free of charge up to four weeks before the start of the course. After this date you will be charged the University fee. Unless:

  • You can find someone to replace you in the course and supply the course coordinator with the name and contact information of your replacement. In this case you will only be charged a € 20,- cancellation fee.
  • You (PhDs and postdocs of Wageningen University) have a valid reason to cancel (illness or death in the family 1st or 2nd degree).
    In this case you will be charged the reduced fee and your supervisor/PI must send a mail indicating the reason for cancellation.


For more information please contact