22 April 2021

Here are some of Samara’s top tips to help you improve your cross-cultural communication skills while studying in Edinburgh.
Two men sitting at a desk

One of the skills for the Edinburgh Award that I really wanted to improve throughout my master’s degree was my cross-cultural communication. This skill was especially important, as it is critical to be aware of the various cultural differences when executing business strategies throughout international platforms.

Additionally, I am fortunate enough to be enrolled in such a culturally diverse programme. With that said, I wanted to work on this skill to be able to relate to my peers from various backgrounds, to be able to communicate, share ideas, and collaborate effectively.

1. Learn how different cultures communicate

One way that I have been able to develop this skill is enrolling in the International Marketing Strategy course in my programme. This allowed me to study global markets that employ different marketing tactics and strategies.

I have also developed a better understanding of the ways that different cultures communicate and respond to various methods of marketing.

Our final assignment allowed us to utilise cross-cultural communication. Each student was assigned a different industry (food, alcohol, makeup, or fashion) and was required to choose a brand or company within their industry to enter into a new international market.

Students were asked to research and justify why this market is worth penetrating. I found this assignment to be an extremely interesting and stimulating way of applying and developing my cross-cultural communication skills.

2. Work and socialise with students from diverse backgrounds

Another tip that has helped me improve my cross-cultural communication, is simply getting to know the various students within my programme. The diversity of people in my course is remarkable, with students from all corners of the world.

So, in order to better my cross-cultural communication skills (and also make new friendships), I met with different classmates on many occasions to get to know them and hear about their backgrounds.

These conversations have allowed me to understand the different operations that occur in other countries, compared to my home country of Canada.

The variety of group assignments throughout my programme has also allowed me to work alongside these diverse students. It has been such a worthwhile experience getting to collaborate with my peers that hold various insightful perspectives when tackling projects.

3. Attend online international conferences

A final tip — which has been available due to the transition to virtual platforms as a result of the pandemic — is to attend online international conferences. Attending these events has been a great way to hear about the many strategies that international corporations are practicing in varying markets.

Ultimately, my greatest advice would be to use the resources and opportunities that are presented to you throughout your programme. Get to know people throughout this amazingly diverse campus to develop a better understanding of the array of cultures that inhabit the University of Edinburgh.

Since the beginning of the year, I feel much more confident about my cross-cultural communication and look forward to applying this skill to my future career and way of living.

Samara Fruitman is a student on the MSc Marketing programme