Dealing with the Dutch, groupwork & interaction

Posted at: 22 Dec 2017

Group work - a challenge or disappointment?

Group work in class

Group work, or team work, means cooperation, self-help and collective responsibility. As you know, it is difficult to cooperate even at your home university despite a common language and culture, because everyone is different and has different characteristics. And what about when you study abroad?

Language and cultural differences do not always help and facilitate our cooperation or communication. In spite of the English language skills of all people cooperating in the team, communication is not so easy. Sometimes it's hard for us to convey our emotions or thoughts in not native language.

In addition, if the majority of people in the team come from the same country, it is hard for us - an individual, to break through and often have to submit. Normally in an international team at university in the Netherlands the leader is a Dutch person. It is he who looks after the schedule and assigns tasks. As "foreign" people, in most cases we get the most difficult tasks to do - we have to face another challenge. Despite the common goal that the group must achieve, its implementation paths are different and sometimes difficult to pass. Unfortunately, we do not always meet with the desire to help.

But let's look at it from a different angle. In many international corporations, employees must cooperate with each other and create different projects. Despite different characters, cultures or language barriers, they have to complete the project. Working in an international team at the university perfectly shows and prepares us for professional life. In addition, it teaches us patience and of course the language, as well as we can get to know other cultures.

So working in a group, at a foreign university, in an international group is definitely a challenge that will surely teach us a lot!

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