This website offers information and exercises to improve your cultural competence. A competence is an integral combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Cultural competence then encompasses the required knowledge on culture and the ways and means of dealing with cultural differences, the necessary skills 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.

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.

Culture is depicted by the upside-down triangle on the right. It indicates the size of groups and the culture on that level. From top to bottom: national cultures, larger groups (e.g. organisational culture), smaller groups (e.g. family or team) and the individual.

The starting point of this website is the experience of cultural differences of 849 students from 53 states with living and working abroad, enrolled in master programmes on European integration at Maastricht University. The topics these students discussed in their papers were organised in a mind-map. Each label shows up to three icons, one with quotes by students on the topic in question, one with a summary of the relevant theory and one with an exercise.

In addition interesting quotes on national cultures are accessible by clicking on a country on the worldmap. A manual for using this website according to specific purposes (e.g. duty trip, international business) will be available in the coming weeks.

The quotes are readily available, for the theory and the exercises a license is required. The latter may be purchased for €10 (approximately $11) through the login page.

Please let us know if things are not clear, need editing or do not function properly. We also welcome the debate on content; the debate on culture will never result in consensus!

Happy clicking and reading and lots of inspiration!