In view of the successful long-distance cultural exchange activities held in mid-March, the international Office of the College of Management once again cooperated with Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University （DHBW）in Germany to organize another“Virtual Teams in an Intercultural Context”seminar and 16 students from two universities were invited to participate in the cultural event.
Before the main cultural exchange session, there were some warm-up activities for the students to complete. Everyone has to share their thoughts and basic knowledge of each other’ country. Also, they could learn about their own characteristics through answering which three survival supplies they would choose, if were put alone on a desert island. There were options like foods, survival tools and items to relieve boredom. The host referred to the collected statistics and explained that students tend to have different mindset in related to their cultural backgrounds. Also, with the aid of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we can understand what kind of needs students care most. If foods like a pack of fruit and vegetable seeds were chosen, it means “a short-term plan to survive” is the most important thing in one’s mind. If items like volleyball or dog were chosen, it means “a long-term plan and psychological needs would be essential when one facing adverse conditions. Through carrying out these tasks, students can get to know more about themselves and their mixed-nationality teammates.
After conducting self-introduction, students greeted virtually and were equally divided into four groups: red, yellow, blue, and green. They were asked to complete two tasks, firstly the” Entrepreneurship Across Cultures” by proposing an international marketing plan in trading products or service into the opposing countries and try to promote it in regard of the different cultural background. All teams worked out very quickly and smoothly, presented their creative ideas with concise powerpoint. Second task, “Virtual Problem Solving Skills”, was more difficult to all the teams, each groups needed to integrate useful clues through online communication and careful analysis, in order to complete the mission. Though there were challenges in carrying out the trials virtually, the students could hold their hands to get over most of the obstacles. All participants felt like it was an pleasant online intercultural exchange experience to them and have reacted positively. Through various kinds of tasks, students could use own strengths to collaborate with team members and find ways to deal with the difficulties that we encountered in the virtual events.
Lots of interpersonal communication and cooperation have also been converted to an online mode. The virtual seminar provided students more learning opportunities to experience cultural differences during the pandemic.