Internationalization: Meet people, not cultures


Communication Skills

Target group

Members of the Doctoral Schools, both Belgian and foreign PhD students are welcome


One PhD student out of three comes from another country, and a number of Belgian PhD students will themselves go abroad later on. You see your colleagues from other cultures in meetings and over coffee, you say hello and goodbye. It’s not easy to get beyond superficial conversation, but there are no problems either. You don’t want to talk about differences too much, because of course you are tolerant towards other cultures or grateful towards your guest country.

In this 1 day course we explore how we can actually get to know our foreign colleagues a bit better, and learn from each other. The key is that you always meet a person, not a culture. People are individuals and not representatives of their culture. In contrast to a lot of models for intercultural communication, the TOPOI model that we introduce, does not focus on culture, but on communication.

Elements from the program:

  • Possible strategies when meeting people that are ‘different'
  • Social systems
  • Cultural dimensions
  • The 5 elements of the TOPOI model for intercultural communication: Tongue, Order, Person, Organization and Intentions
  • Case: attention to culture can cause misunderstanding instead of preventing it. What to do?


Case analyses, theory, discussion, we will even play a card game.

Time schedule & venue

Course Code   Time Teaching room
to be announced


Ann De Ron, since 2008 trainer Doctoral Schools UGent in popular scientific writing (currently in Dutch: 'schrijven voor niet-vakgenoten en pers'). In addition to her Master degree in Sciences and her experience as a journalist, she holds an Ba in Intercultural Management.

Registration fee

Free of charge for the members of the Doctoral Schools





Number of participants


Evaluation criteria

100% attendance, active participation