Every year we invite the knowledgeable and inspiring Helena Bernáld to give up seminar and workshop about intercultural skills and communication to the students in the IT in society class. If you ever want to listen to a good lecturer in this area I strongly recommend her! Her lecture is full of eye opening experiences and good examples. Helena Bernáld is also a certified coach with lots of experience from different organisations and contexts, and she is an expert in a stronger personal leadership and time management tools. She is indeed an inspiring and knowledgeable person.
The students in the class are collaborating in a distributed software engineering project with students from Uppsala University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. The students at the two universities come from a number of different countries in the world. This sets the scene for a great learning opportunity related to intercultural skills! It also set the scene for all kinds of communication problems, so that the students can practice and learn to handle cultural differences.
The main purpose of the seminar is to inspire students to acquire global people skills necessary for a successful career as a global professional. In the seminar presentations are mixed with discussions and reflections. There is a focus on understanding of cultural profile and preferred communication style. Often Helena Bernáld dig deeper into the Swedish and American cultures as most students come from these two countries.
A side track: Helena Bernáld is also are talented interior styling expert and photographer. You can find her very inspirational blog here
A few years back we wrote a few papers related to this experience. You find two of the papers that we have written on this topic here:
Bernáld, H., Cajander, Å., Daniels, M., Laxer, C., (2011). Reasoning about the value of cultural awareness in international collaboration. Journal of Applied Computing and Information Technology, 15(1), 2011.
Bernáld, H., Cajander, Å., Daniels, M., Kultur, C., Löfström, A., McDermott, R., & Russell Dag, L. (2012). Intercultural competence in global collaboration courses in computer engineering. Advances in Design for Cross-Cultural Activities: Part I.