Practising Cultural Intelligence across Cultures

Category: Englisch

International project team of Steffi Gruber

Julia Decker

Franco Sanchez

Third Intensive Programme of the Erasmus Strategic Partnership Prominence successfully completed in online format  

More than forty students from across Europe and overseas have been working successfully in cross-cultural teams on an international marketing project this week. The University of Savoie hosted the third and final Intensive Programme as part of an EU project entitled PROMINENCE (PROmoting MINndful ENCounters through intercultural Competence and Experience).  

In their cross-cultural teams, students were assigned to develop a marketing campaign for a focal brand on different European markets. Dr Stephane Ganassalie, Associate Professor at the University of Savoie, who coordinated the intensive programme with a focus on marketing strategies and practices summarises the ambition of the latter: “We wanted the students to experience all stages of a product development on the beer market, within an intercultural context. Their task was to consider cultural differences in two European countries, and define their marketing mix accordingly. Students were assigned to international teams and were collaborating via online tools and could enjoy a true immersive cross cultural situation.” 

Prof. Dr. Alexandra Angress was coordianating and teaching in the IP and 9 students from TH Aschaffenburg, among them students from the Master International Management, were selected to participate. The third Intensive Program was forced to run online in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which initially gave the partners some trepidation. However, the shortened virtual version turned out to be a great success: “One of the unfortunate weaknesses of some EU projects has always been that partners team up to work on a common project task, but still often end up individually developing their own parts, which are then put together in a final, patchwork-type version. The current situation actually required the partners to work together more closely to ensure a seamless harmony in the program elements. The same applies to how the international student teams cooperated over the three days. What we witnessed transpiring was our project’s true goal coming to fruition: mindful, respectful and cooperative communication towards reaching a common goal, through openness, honesty and personal dedication to a task and especially to one’s team. I could not be prouder of my colleagues or the student participants,” says D. Troy Wiwczaroski, Associate Professor at Debrecen University and coordinator of the PROMINENCE project.

This  project  is financially supported within the framework of the EU funding initiative Erasmus+  Strategic Partnerships. Over a period of three years, seven university partners collaborated from Aschaffenburg (Germany), University of Economics of Bratislava (Slovakia), Debrecen (Coordinating Partner/Hungary), Katowice (Poland), Savoie (France), Seinäjoki (Finland) and the University of Economics of Varna (Bulgaria). 
Each of these short intensive programmes aimed at fostering international teamwork and learning about theories and practices of working across cultures. The programmes were delivered in English to a total of 150 students over the last two years. The University of Economics in Bratislava run the first Intensive Programme “Languages and Cultural Diversity” in 2018 and, in 2019, Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences hosted the second IP, entitled “Managing and Leading in Different Cultures”. 

In addition to the three Erasmus+ intensive programmes, online modules (Prominence Interactive) to foster cultural intelligence across cultures were developed as one of the concrete project deliverables. Through this EU project, all seven European university partners signed up to further develop their respective internationalisation strategies and deepen their bonds through respective Erasmus+ cooperation arrangements on student and staff mobility in place, within the EU funded flagship programme Erasmus+. 

The project ended with an international multiplier event hosted online by Seinäjoki University on 19 November 2020, with the title “Intercultural Competence at Work”, seeking to share and disseminate central findings and engage stakeholders in academia and the world of work in the discussion.    

"Even the Prominence Intensive Program only took place virtually, it was still a great experience. It was nice to get to know students from different countries and exchange opinions and experiences with them. I would recommend everyone to apply for the next Intensive Program - which hopefully will take place on site again“, is the conclusion of Stephanie Gruber, Master student in business and law.

Two other participants, Julia Decker und Franco Sanchez, sent the following feedback to the lecturers:

"First of all, we would like to thank you for the opportunity to let us participate in the IP prominence project. We would also like to thank the team of prominence that took part in this program for the great organization and willingness to help us students at all times.
It was a great opportunity for us to work in intercultural teams and to be able to develop not only professionally but also personally. We had a lot of fun and despite everything was organized virtually we were able to get together and solve the tasks in our assigned teams. This was challenging, but we also learned a lot at the same time. The idea of all the teams being composed of participants from different countries made everything more interesting and interactive because there were so many ideas to exchange. 
What was also nice was that the different tasks were really practice-oriented, which broadened our understanding of marketing! We would recommend everyone to participate in this intercultural program and would also always do it again. Great experience!
Thank you very much once again."