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Raising The Intercultural Awareness Of Engineering And Business Students In An Austrian Bachelor And Master Of Science Programme In Aviation

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Global Engineering Education: Intercultural Awareness and International Experience

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1003.1 - 14.1003.20



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Paper Authors


Dietmar Tatzl FH JOANNEUM, University of Applied Sciences

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Dietmar Tatzl holds a doctorate in English Studies as well as two diploma degrees (English and American Studies, History and Media Studies) from the University of Graz, Austria. During his studies, he spent a full academic year at Hendrix College, Conway, AR, from 1996 to 1997. After graduation, he started working as a lecturer at the FH JOANNEUM, University of Applied Sciences in Graz, where he has now taught English language courses to aeronautical engineering and aviation management students for seven years. Among his fields of interest are English for Specific Purposes, Business English, Technical English, Aeronautical English, Cross-Cultural Communication and Materials Development for language teaching.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Raising the Intercultural Awareness of Engineering and Business Students in an Austrian Bachelor and Master of Science Programme in Aviation


This paper presents four topics and related activities for developing the intercultural awareness of engineering and business students which originated during my English as a Foreign Language (EFL) classes in the Bachelor and Master of Science Programme in Aviation at the FH JOANNEUM, University of Applied Sciences, Graz, Austria. Even though they were initially created for non-native speakers of English, they may be equally employed with native-speaking students in subject-specific tertiary education and experienced professionals preparing for a work assignment abroad. Raising the cross-cultural awareness of students means introducing and sensitizing them to such issues through which intercultural differences and similarities may be perceived, discussed and acknowledged. The four topics selected are work, national stereotypes, food and gender because these ideally fit in with our purpose and are likely to arise in cross-cultural conversations. The first activity should make learners think about habits they could adopt as permanent residents in a foreign city on their daily ways to and from work. The second activity aims at revealing and breaking national stereotypes as a danger to intercultural communication. The third activity simulates dialogues in a restaurant, during which some problem related to food and a person’s religious confession or personal conviction must be solved. Finally, the fourth activity encourages the discussion of gender-specific issues of male and female equality, of the advancement of women in global societies and businesses as well as of potential threats to women’s rights. All of these activities pursue the goals of questioning learner’s own cross-cultural attitudes and deepening their understanding of foreign cultures. Some of the topics introduced may cause heated debates among learners, which is why they need to be carefully moderated by an experienced instructor. In any case, thought-provoking subjects and tasks facilitate eager participation by learners and provide for a fruitful debriefing and reflection phase with the teacher, which follows on each of the four activities. The tasks presented may serve as contributions to a cross-cultural training course to be designed by instructors who teach engineering and business students or practising professionals alike.

Tatzl, D. (2009, June), Raising The Intercultural Awareness Of Engineering And Business Students In An Austrian Bachelor And Master Of Science Programme In Aviation Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4518

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