Intercultural Concerns and Studying at the LMU
Not every problem international students encounter in their new surroundings is a function of "culture". A lot can depend on individual or situational circumstances. With intercultural counseling, however, one can get a better understanding of what problems stem from cultural differences and which do not.
The following are examples of questions often posed by foreign students that help us identify when a cultural clarification is essential:
- Why am I expected to show personal initiative and what does that actually mean?
- Why do professors ask for my opinion when they are the experts?
- How does one do group work?
- How does a seminar work?
- What does the professor expect from me?
- What constitutes a good paper?
- What may I ask in office hours and what not?
- Can I expect help from my German classmates?
- Why don't German students socialize before and after class?
- Why don't German professors speak more slowly and clearly so that I can better understand them?
- Why do professors let students talk in seminars even when students come to class unprepared?
- How do I get to know people and make new friends?
- Why can't I get to know the families of my German classmates?
- Why does it seem to bother the German students in my dorm when my parents or siblings come to visit and stay with me?
Our experience has shown that this list of questions is not exhaustive. Behind each of these questions lie hidden cultural ideas.
We can help uncover them and develop strategies to deal with them. Problems can arise if these questions are not addressed in a timely manner. Some questions can be discussed and even solved with the help and clarification of friends. Answers to others may reveal themselves through the course of the semester. Still others, however, may remain unanswered even after living in Germany for a long time. In any event, intercultural professionals provide the best, most reliable advice.