Graduiertenakademie der Universität Heidelberg

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Dr. Melanie Niese

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Meet the Germans – YouTube

Rachel moved from the UK to Germany in 2016. As a relative newcomer she casts a fresh eye over German clichés and shares her experiences of settling into German life. Every two weeks she explores a new topic – from allotment gardens to money to language.

Meet the Germans – YouTube (DW Euromaxx)

Daumen hoch! Oder lieber nicht?

Intercultural Awareness

Training resources
Further reading

Self-Management – Intercultural Awareness

Websites, digital tool kits and interesting reads regarding various aspects of intercultural skills in a professional context.


In pursuit for diversity in a multicultural world, most if not all protagonists need a minimum of intercultural skills and awareness on a daily basis. For the mobile life style of open minded researchers who are at times guests in a foreign culture and hosts for their international likes in their home countries, intercultural awareness and skillful acting in honor of diversity of values, beliefs or behavior is vital. In the Oxford Dictionary, intercultural awareness is coined as “having an understanding of both your own and other cultures, and particularly the similarities and differences between them. […] Understanding that people from different cultures have different values is the foundation to good intercultural relationships”.

Keywords (in alphabetical order):  Attitude, Charisma, Confidentiality, Conflict resolution, Communication styles, Decision making, Dignity, Empathy, Feed-back culture, Handling personal goals, How to be polite, Political awareness, Negotiation and Persuasion skills, Networking skills, Recognizing and Managing Emotions, Self-Awareness, Self- Control, Self-Motivation, Self-Regulation, Service orientation, Stereotypes, “Tangible Topics” (Talking about Money, Death, Dignity, Honor, Politeness vs Honesty...), Tact and Diplomacy, Team work, groups and  meetings, Time Management, Trustworthiness


Training resources

Culturewisenet – a free on-line training resource

Culturewisenet offers a compilation of easy-to-use intercultural and cultural awareness learning activities that to add cross-cultural skills to any in-house training.
Languages: English; also available in French, Italian, Polish, Spanish and Russian
Target group: for self-study and employee development
Fee: for free (except for a few interactive modules provided by individual trainers)
Contents: The web-page offers a range of free cultural awareness training white-papers, activities, exercises and resources. At the core of the offerings is the “Intercultural Training Exercise Pack” which in 15 chapters offers an introduction to the theoretical background regarding the necessity and the skill set required for sensible intercultural comportment. Topics range from “What is wrong with stereotypes?, “Recognizing ineffective responses to cultural differences” and “Values at work” to “Observing body language”, “Recognizing culture shock” and “What makes a cross-culturally effective individual?”.

Gapminder – a fact tank

Gapminder is an independent Swedish foundation with no political, religious or economic affiliations. Gapminder is a fact tank, not a think tank. Gapminder fights devastating misconceptions about global development. Gapminder produces free teaching resources making the world understandable based on reliable statistics. Gapminder promotes a fact-based worldview everyone can understand. Gapminder collaborates with universities, UN, public agencies and non-governmental organizations.
Languages: English
Target group: for self-study and teaching; Gapminder’s mission is to enable combatting stereotypes about what life is like in other countries through a data-driven approach.
Fee: for free
Contents: Gapminder provides facts & figures and independent journalism-based insights into global social, economic, and environmental development. It “brings meaning to what otherwise might be considered <boring> numbers”. For a quick and informative self-assessment take the gapminder test at

The Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters (AIE)

The Autobiography is a resource designed to encourage people to think about and learn from intercultural encounters they have had either face to face or through visual media such as television, magazines, films, the Internet, etc. The AEI project is related to the work of the Council of Europe’s Education Department.
Languages: English
Target group: self-study for individuals and educators
Fee: for free
Contents: The tool aims at fostering intercultural competence towards embracing a concept of multiculturalism and internationality. It provides for insights into key concepts of intercultural orientation and encourages exploring intercultural challenges as much as reflecting on personal intercultural experiences.
The AIE training resource comes with an alphabetical glossary on concepts and terminology important for understanding the theoretical framework of intercultural competence:


Further reading

The Culture Map: Decoding How People Think, Lead, and Get Things Done Across Cultures by Erin Meyer, Hachette Book Group USA 2018.

Whether you work in a home office or abroad, business success in our ever more globalized and virtual world requires the skills to navigate through cultural differences and decode cultures foreign to your own. Renowned expert Erin Meyer is your guide through this subtle, sometimes treacherous terrain where people from starkly different backgrounds are expected to work harmoniously together. When you have Americans who precede anything negative with three nice comments, French, Dutch, Israelis, and Germans who get straight to the point (“your presentation was simply awful"), Latin Americans and Asians who are steeped in hierarchy, Scandinavians who think the best boss is just one of the crowd, the result can be, well, sometimes interesting, even funny, but often disastrous. Even with English as a global language, it's easy to fall into cultural traps that endanger careers and sink deals […].

Erin Meyer is a professor at INSEAD, one of the world's leading international business schools. Living and working in Africa, Europe, and the United States prompted Meyer's study of the communication patterns and business systems of different parts of the world. In 2013 Erin was selected by the Thinkers50 Radar list as one of the world's up-and-coming business thinkers. She is the recipient of the 2015 Thinkers50 RADAR Award.

Die Culture Map: Ihr Kompass für das internationale Business von Erin Meyer, Andreas Schieberle et al., Wiley-VCH 2018.

Ob man zu Hause arbeitet oder im Ausland, Geschäftserfolg in unserer immer mehr globalisierten und virtuellen Welt erfordert die Fähigkeit, durch kulturelle Unterschiede zu navigieren und fremde Kulturen zu entschlüsseln. Die renommierte Expertin Erin Meyer ist Ihr Guide durch dieses schwierige, manchmal trügerische Gelände, in dem von Menschen mit gänzlich unterschiedlichem Background erwartet wird, harmonisch zusammenzuarbeiten. Selbst mit Englisch als globaler Sprache ist es leicht in kulturelle Fallen zu tappen, die die Karriere gefährden oder Abschlüsse zunichtemachen können. In der "Culture Map" liefert Erin Meyer nun ein praxiserprobtes Modell, einen Kompass, um zu dekodieren, wie kulturelle Unterschiede internationalen Erfolg beeinflussen.
Im Modell der "Culture Map" werden 8 Dimensionen (unter anderem Kommunizieren, Führen, Vertrauen, Entscheiden) betrachtet. Diese Dimensionen steigern die Effektivität der Arbeit – egal, ob man seine Mitarbeiter motivieren, Kunden erfreuen will oder einfach nur einen Conference-Call plant, an dem Mitglieder unterschiedlicher Kulturen teilnehmen. Die Leser werden in die Lage versetzt, sich und ihre Position gegenüber den anderen einzuordnen und zu entschlüsseln, wie die Kultur die eigene internationale Zusammenarbeit beeinflusst, um unangenehme Situationen oder Fiaskos zu vermeiden. Die deutsche Ausgabe des Buches wurde von der Autorin aktualisiert; drei neue Länder (Türkei, Marokko, Irak) wurden zusätzlich in die Betrachtung aufgenommen.

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle, Bantam 2018.

Culture is not something you are – it’s something you do. The Culture Code puts the power in your hands. No matter the size of your group or your goal, this book can teach you the principles of cultural chemistry that transform individuals into teams that can accomplish amazing things together.
In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations – including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs – and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Drawing on examples that range from Internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade to a daring gang of jewel thieves, Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change. Coyle unearths helpful stories of failure that illustrate what not to do, troubleshoots common pitfalls, and shares advice about reforming a toxic culture. Combining leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights from world-class leaders, and practical ideas for action, The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded.

The Intercultural Mind. Connecting Culture, Cognition and Global Living by Joseph Shaules, N. Brealey Publishing 2015.

In this pioneering book, Joseph Shaules presents exciting new research from cultural psychology and neuroscience. It sheds light on the hidden influence of culture on the unconscious mind, and helps people get more out of their intercultural journeys.
The Intercultural Mind presents new perspectives on important questions such as: What is culture shock, and how does it affect us? Why are we blind to our own cultural conditioning? Can cultural differences be measured? What does it mean to have an international mindset? Illustrated with a wealth of examples and memorable stories, The Intercultural Mind is a fascinating look at how intercultural experiences can transform the geography of our minds.

Die Deutschen – Wir Deutsche. Fremdwahrnehmung und Selbstsicht im Berufsleben von Sylvia Schroll-Machl, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2010

Die Globalisierung ist inzwischen allgegenwärtig. Diese Tatsache stellt viele Menschen vor neue Situationen: Kulturunterschiede sind nicht mehr nur etwas, was Touristen fasziniert und Wissenschaftler anregt, sondern sie sind weitgehend Alltag geworden, insbesondere auch in beruflichen Zusammenhängen. Das Buch wendet sich an beide Seiten dieser geschäftlichen Partnerschaft: zum einen an jene, die für einige Zeit in Deutschland leben bzw. mit Deutschen von ihrem Heimatland aus zu tun haben, oder, zum anderen an die Deutschen, die mit Partnern aus aller Welt im Geschäftskontakt stehen, sei es per Geschäftsbesuch oder via Kommunikationsmedien. Für die erste Gruppe ist es wichtig, Informationen über Deutsche zu erhalten, um sich auf uns einstellen zu können. Für Deutsche selbst ist es hilfreich zu erfahren, wie unsere nicht-deutschen Partner uns erleben, um uns selbst im Spiegel der anderen zu sehen.
Sylvia Schroll-Machl berichtet auf dem Hintergrund langjähriger Praxis als interkulturelle Trainerin und Wissenschaftlerin über viele typische Erfahrungen mit uns Deutschen und typische Eindrücke von uns.

Dr. phil. Sylvia Schroll-Machl ist Diplom-Psychologin und Diplom-Religionspädagogin (FH); sie arbeitet als freiberufliche Trainerin und Coach für verschiedene Firmen, Organisationen und Ministerien im Bereich interkulturelle Trainings und Personalentwicklung.

Germany, oh Germany: Ein eigensinniges Geschichtsbuch von Simon Winder, Rowohlt Taschenbuch 2011.

Kaum ein Engländer betritt freiwillig deutschen Boden, ohne dafür berufliche Gründe zu haben. Ein Fehler, meint Simon Winder. Er selbst ist regelrecht besessen von Deutschland. So nimmt er uns mit auf eine höchst unterhaltsame Reise durch unser Land und dessen Vergangenheit. Nebenbei stopft er Bildungslücken, von denen Sie nicht einmal wussten, dass Sie sie hatten.
„Simon Winder ist der Erste, dem es gelingt zu zeigen, dass Deutschland nicht weniger Spaß macht als Frankreich oder Italien.“ (Evening Standard)

Germania: A Personal History of Germans Ancient and Modern by Simon Winder, Picador 2011.

Germania is a very personal guide to the Germany that Simon Winder loves. Equally passionate about the region’s history, folklore, cuisine, architecture and landscape, Winder describes Germany’s past afresh – and in doing so sees a country much like our own: Protestant, aggressive and committed to eating some very strange food. This accessible, enthusiastic and startlingly vivid account is a brilliant introduction to the hidden wonders of Germany.

Verantwortlich: Falk
Letzte Änderung: 17.02.2022
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