It is the sincere wish of MHMS to deliver young hotel managers who are true citizens of the World, with a Global Mindset. The hotel industry is the most internationally oriented branche in the World. That is why a five month operational internship in a hotel abroad is a standard element of our curriculum. In order to make this internship successful, intercultural competence is one of the personal objectives you will work on.
In your operational internship you work in a foreign country. You will experience similarities but also differences between your behaviour, your communication style, your value-system and that of the people you meet in the country you are working in. Besides the country’s citizens, you will also deal with a variety of nationalities of colleagues and guests. This requires a certain level of knowledge, skills and a certain attitude to be able to deal effectively and appropriately with this mosaic of people from different cultural backgrounds. This is what we call your intercultural competency.
Cultural awareness is part of your intercultural competency. It refers to two types of knowledge you need to gain. Cultural-general knowledge, for instance knowing what culture is about , how you can analyse it, knowing the basic communication processes, etc. Cultural specific knowledge is what you need to know about a specific country, for instance its language, history, economical situation, social structure. But also knowledge about habits, rituals, food, communication styles and such.
Cultural awareness is important, but it is worthless without the motivation to learn about other cultures, a basic curiosity for things that are new and different. And of course the skills you develop during your intership, like dealing with uncertainty, building relationships, communicating with culturally diverse people, and becoming sensitive for others’ needs.