Welcome

Welcome on this website on cultural competence, summarised by the upside-down triangle on the right. The starting point of this website is the experience of cultural differences of 849 students from 53 states with living and working abroad. All of them enrolled in the one of the three master programmes on European integration at Maastricht University.

The key assumption is that the experience of these students covers most practical aspects of dealing with cultural differences (number of students, nationalities, spread of locations of experience, same age group and comparable intellectual level). This experience was reflected in as many papers. An analysis of these papers showed some 80 topics on culture. These topics were organised in a mind-map. In addition interesting quotes on national cultures are accessible by clicking on a country on the worldmap.

The mind-map may be interesting in itself but is also a tool for organising lots of information on culture. Each label of the mind-map contains up to three icons, one for showing the quotes by students on that topic, one for some theoretical background (under construction) and one for access to an exercise (under construction).

This website focuses on culture in the wider sense of the word, the way of thinking and feeling of groups of people. Culture in the narrow sense of the word, the arts, may be considered as an expression of culture in that wider sense or an opposition to it.

The idea of cultural competence reflects an educational school that stresses that a competence is an integral combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Cultural competence encompasses the required knowledge on culture and the ways and means of dealing with cultural differences, the skills required and the desirable attitudes. The starting point may be teaching and training in a classroom but the actual experiences (learning in practice) is a necessary ingredient as well.

Happy clicking and reading and lots of inspiration!