We visited the Technical University of Munich (TUM) Garching Campus and the TUM Center for Key Competencies. This Center provides workshops to develop soft skills of students and teaches about conflict resolution, creativity methods, presentation techniques, inter-cultural communication and team work. It aims to prepare students for a successful start in business lives since soft skills are expected when they enter the workforce. We participated in a ‘Doing Business with Germans and Americans’ Workshop in a small group setting with one other German student.
We learned a lot about Germany culture such as how Germans are very conservative, orderly, timely, blunt, direct, detail-oriented, logical, efficient, and traditional. In addition, we discussed about how they work in a formal work setting, prioritize a clearly defined work-life balance, and separate their friends from their colleagues. We compared these characteristics with those of American culture and realized how different Germany and America was. In comparison, Americans prioritized personal relationships, emotions, freedom and individualism more than Germans. These discussions opened our minds and made us realize how big the world is and how different people and life is in different parts of the world. I also appreciated that there is always something good to learn from every culture, such as we can learn from how efficient the Germans are and how personal Americans are.
Other students should have this experience because it is a great opportunity to discuss about culture with other German students to get an outsider’s perspective. It is also a chance to apply what we learned in ‘The Global Technical Workforce’ class.
By Ilma Alfadila