Key skills for future supervisors 1: Communicating in an international setting

Professional skills courses

Course information

Number of sessions: 1
Hours per session: 3
Course fee:

  • This workshop is open to all PhD candidates, post-docs and assistant professors at EUR
  • It is highly recommended to those who are guiding or coaching (newly started) colleagues
  • Consult our enrolment policy for more information.


Telephone: +31 10 4082607

November 1 (Friday) 2019
Location will be announced soon. 


Being aware of your own cultural framework and being able to read those of others, might play a key role in your success in an international setting, such as the academic world.  How we communicate about important messages to each other, how difficult it may be to say ‘no’, or be vocally prominent in a meeting, the meaning we give to time and deadlines, what we understand to be good leadership are all examples of the way in which our cultural background comes to life in a work setting. In this workshop we shed light on breath of culturally influenced aspects of communication and how they play out in work.

Aim and working method

The aim of this workshop is to create a deeper understanding of cultural diversity and to make you better equipped to communicate successfully in cross-cultural situations.

Based on theory and practice examples you will learn in a fun and interactive way about the elements of different communication styles. You gain insight into how to be more effective in an international environment, whether it is in your own work, in your team or when coaching someone else.

Learning objectives

  • Gain insight in how communication and culture are intertwined.
  • Increase awareness about different cultural communication styles, and find out what your cultural comfort zone is.
  • Improve your ability to successfully communicate in cross-cultural situations.


The following topics will be covered in both theoretical and practical ways, always making a link on how cultural backgrounds may express themselves differently in a work environment:

  1. Non-verbal communication (e.g. personal space and gestures)
  2. Different speech patterns  (e.g. use of pause in our speech)
  3. Low-high context culture (e.g. the need to read between the lines)
  4. Debate vs Consensus cultures (e.g. extent to which opinion of various stakeholders is taken into account)
  5. Leadership role model (e.g. preferred role of a leader)
  6. How vs Why communication (e.g. the way we put arguments forward)
  7. Gender and intercultural communication: are there differences in how female leaders need to behave and how male leaders need to behave in your country of origin?
  8.  Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions (power distance, masculinity vs femininity, Individualism vs Collectivism, Uncertainty avoidance. Long-term orientation)

About the instructor

Katarina Putnik is an HR policy advisor on the topic of diversity and inclusion. Prior to coming to the EUR, she worked at TNO conducting research and policy work related to diversity in organisations. She has a PhD on the topic of work-life balance in relation to culture and gender from Maastricht University. During her PhD time, she has also been a PhD representative for her own research school and a national CaRe school. Katarina is originally from Serbia, has lived 10 years in Slovenia, 1 year in Austria, 10 in Malta and last 12 years in the Netherlands.

Ilse Schenk is a policy advisor, with 14 years of experience at Nuffic focusing on incoming international academic migration such as scientists as well as PhDs. In addition to knowledge about administrative procedures, she has for many years accumulated expertise at national level on the various phases of the incoming scientists' trajectories. These include information provision, a warm welcome, onboarding programs, social settlement, career development and possibly leaving at the end. From within this role she has attended, seen and given various intercultural awareness workshops.