Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

How to Get in an International Team

Posted at: 6 Jun 2018 | Student Affairs

Working with people from other cultures can be difficult, but it is not impossible!

Get your group to meet in your school’s library so everyone feels comfortable!

It can be very intimidating to drop everything you know and move to an international city for a semester abroad. There may also be challenges you face when living in a new city, such as different cultures or ways of living. Studying in the Netherlands, I did not think I would have any issues with the way classes are set up and the amount of work given. However, I have found that collaborating with other international students on group work can be challenging sometimes. I have found that listening and not getting frustrated are the best ways to successfully complete a group assignment.

Almost every class I am taking at the AUAS has some sort of group work element. The group might have to work together on a research paper, a presentation, or some other kind of deliverable. It is hard enough to work with multiple kinds of personalities in a group setting. When each person is also from another country with a different native language besides English, many problems can arise. Different cultures have different ways of communicating. People from cultures that are stereotypically more neutral may be less expressive or talkative when contributing ideas to a group. People who are the opposite, more effective, may seem overly enthusiastic or bossy even though they are just projecting their ideas in the way they know how. Determining how each team members works will be helpful in determining who should do which aspect of the assignment.

When communicating with students from other cultures, it is important to give each person a chance to contribute and to be open to new ideas that they might have. The first thing the group should do is determine what grade they want to receive for the assignment. Then, the group should designate someone to be the leader who can assign what each person should be responsible for. Often you may find that no one in the group will volunteer to direct everyone else, but it is important to know what each person needs to do for the assignment so that everything gets done efficiently. I often take on this role because I like to get the ball rolling on projects, and the sooner they are completed the better! Once everyone knows what they must complete for the team, the group can make sure everything is cohesive and submit the finished assignment.

Having the opportunity to socialize with and work with international students has been very rewarding. Collaborating as part of a team is a common part of working in a business, so having this opportunity is useful for anyone! It is essential to be able to work with all kinds of people from different cultures, backgrounds and walks of life. Having an open mind and listening to other group members is the key to completing the assignment in the most efficient way. Remember to stay calm and not let your frustration get the best of you in a tough situation and you will have no problem getting an A with your international team!

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