SI Alumnus Ye Tian from China received a grant from SI in 2014 to organise an alumni event in Beijing on cross-cultural communication. Due to various circumstances the event was delayed but on 12 March the event was finally held at the Embassy of Sweden in Beijing. Please find Ye Tian’s report below:
The event finally took place with the Embassy’s help! After we published an event notice to members of the Sweden Alumni Network in China (SANC), and the Embassy of Sweden published a notice via its official Weibo and WeChat, we received over 100 applications from people in different companies and many new SANC members. Considering that we gave a really short notice, only about one week, it was really a happy surprise for us to see these many applications. In the end 32 people were given the chance to attend.
The training was very engaging. According to an after-class survey 100% of the participants regarded it as a very good event as it facilitates deep talk among participants. In the class, the trainer John Fu introduced ‘What is cultural and how it impacts us’. He made a metaphor to describe cross-cultural communication issues. We see a lot of differences between cultures, for example, behavior, emotional display, language, food etc. But this is only a small part of a big iceberg. Underneath, there are differences between history, communication style, religion, and even small things as definition of family. People tend to judge another culture in the small visible part. However, only understanding the root course could make our communication more effective.
During the course, we also did case studies on how to explain the differences between China and Sweden to foreign colleagues. This is probably the most fun part that people enjoy. Many people mentioned in class, “ I never thought there are many cultural issues to be aware of and make effective communication could actually be trained. ”
There was social time during and after the class. According to the feedback, people think it is better to have small sessions so that they know each other well and could still keep connections with each other after the event.
Acknowledgement to Björn Djurberg, Information Officeer at the Embassy, who has offered valuable support for the event from the very idea phase and took those nice pictures.
More pictures here: