How to Hone Students’ Language and Intercultural skills for a Work Placement Abroad?

Preparation is key. This Education Tip focuses on the students’ preparation for a work placement abroad in terms of their language and intercultural skills. 

How to Hone Students' Language Skills in Preparation of a Work Placement Abroad? 

  • In the case of a work context in which a foreign language is used, a solid preparation in terms of language skills is crucial. Students need a specific set of language skills to function well in the workplace. Usually, the required linguistic mastery is determined in consultation with the host organisation and attuined to the trainee’s tasks. The required linguistic mastery may be more important for work placements in specific sectors (for example: health care or educational programmes), but this depends on the trainee’s tasks as well. 
  • Students going on a work placement abroad should brush up their foreign language skills and familiarize themselves with the technical jargon beforehand. They can, for example, take a language course at the University Language Centre (in Dutch) at reduced tuition fees. Students with a work placement abroad in the context of an Erasmus+ scholarship will be invited to take a language test via the OLS tool. The same tool also offers a free language course. 

How to Hone Students' Intercultural Skills for a Work Placement Abroad? 

In order to function (more) successfully in an international/intercultural (working) environment, attention should be paid to honing one's intercultural skills. Unlike students who study abroad, trainees usually cannot rely on faculties or social activities offered to exchange students by host institutions. For this reason, it can also be more challenging for trainees to function in an intercultural and international working and living environment. 

  • Ghent University offers intercultural preparation moments (in Dutch) for stays abroad, especially for stays outside of the Erasmus zone.
  • Encourage students to ask their workplace for information on the local work culture and to read about the host country, the area, the professional sector, etc. beforehand.

Last modified April 1, 2021, 1:24 p.m.