Posts filed under Cultures / Intercultural


On September 13, it was the volunteer day in Berlin.
The inhabitants could register to help out the day on a project or for an activity.

I helped to clean the community center in my district. We cleaned the garden and also the park next to the community center.
At the end of the morning, the volunteers had lunch together. The community center staff had organized a barbecue to thank the volunteers.

When I arrived in Berlin, I went to the community center to propose there my help. I had time after work and I wanted to meet people. They proposed me to run a 3-sessions IT course.
I am not an expert at all. But the most important is that I am better than my students, isn't it?
I had a really good experience. I learned from the students' questions and I spoke German.
After this course, the community center proposed me to run other activities and also to continue the IT courses with more students and in another place.

I will get a certificate from the community center for the time I spent helping there.

Volunteering is a great opportunity to discover the culture of a country, to speak a foreign language and to build your network. I recommend you to try it, specially when you arrive in a new city!

NB: You can volunteer even if you're not allowed to work in the country. I volunteered when I was in Canada during a year. I had only a tourist visa at that time.

Specificities of the resume

You probably know already that the expected form of the resume is different from country to country.
For example in the USA your resume is preferably without your picture and with a list of contacts as references. In France you should have a one-page resume. In Germany you put the date and you sign on your resume.

Did you know that some people write their achievements in videogames like "World of Warcraft" on their resume? Surprising, right? That is the topic of a Wall Street Journal article published on August 12, 2014.
Those candidates defend the idea that they developed some competences (leadership or communication for example) by playing certain games. Their high scores prove that they do have those competences and know how to use them to succeed. 

What do you think?
Do/Would you list your scores in certain games on your resume? Why?
Do you mention uncommon information on your resume? If yes, which one(s)?

Personally I write my MBTI profile on my resume. It is unusual to see it on candidates' resume even if this tool is known, famous and used around the world. That helps me in my speech when I try to explain what kind of personality I have.

Posted on August 23, 2014 and filed under Cultures / Intercultural, Human Resources.

How your language shapes your understanding of the world?

In Natural Geographic of Juli 2012, you can read: "I'm seeing the world through the looking glass of this language" / "It alters your thinking, your worldview." Language shapes human experience - our very cognition - as it goes about classifying the world to make sense of the circumstances at hand.

I remember of two examples I studied in class.
I learned that we do not name the same colors in the rainbow according to the language we speak. And we do not even have the same amount of colors in the rainbow.
The Eskimos have a lot of different words to describe the snow and the ice. Much more than we actually have in English.

I know I do not think the same way when I speak French, German or English. Have you ever noticed that the French rarely finish their sentences and that they easily interrupt each other when they speak? In German, I most of the time wait until the end of my interlocutor's speech. I pause. I think. And then I answer. (NB: I need to wait until the end of the sentence where the verb is most of the time to understand the sentence's meaning.) When I was in Canada, I once experienced difficulties to take part of a group conversation. Every time I wanted to speak, somebody else got the turn. I realized at that moment that the accepted silence length between each turn was actually shorter for the group than for me. Even if it was a millisecond difference, I was totally powerless to get any turn in the conversation.

What about you? What did you experience which shows that your language shapes your understanding of the world?

Posted on May 8, 2014 and filed under Cultures / Intercultural.

Before ... Sunrise / Sunset / Midnight

An American romantic film trilogy (1995, 2004, 2013) describing a love story between a French woman called Céline and an American man called Jesse. We see their relationship evolving and discover it at three different moments in their lives.

The law of attraction makes them come together despite their differences (decisions, paths, cultures, etc.). The chemistry is there. Wonderful dialogues. It feels real. And it definitely enhanced my understanding of what "intercultural competence" is. 

Posted on March 30, 2014 and filed under Cultures / Intercultural.