Workshop: Navigating twisted career waters – How will the recent global changes and turbulent times affect intercultural careers?


Impressions from the 2017 SIETAR Europa Congress

Olla Shimbereva on “Navigating twisted career waters – How will the recent global changes and turbulent times affect intercultural careers?” – workshop by Elina Pohjonen and Katharina Külpmann


My favourite session was called “Navigating twisted career waters – How will the recent global changes and turbulent times affect intercultural careers”. This session was led by Elina Pohjonen and Katharina Külpmann with the panelists George Simon, Joanna Sell, Susan Salzbrenner and Colletta Dalikeni. This session was a ‘must-see’ for every starting interculturalist as it outlined the realities of being in the intercultural field and what the future of the intercultural labour market holds. In the panel, three main questions were tackled:

  • How can we find new entries into the intercultural field?
  • How do the changes in the labour market effect intercultural careers?
  • Will there be more demand in the public sector and NGOs? If so, what roles would this demand be in?

The speakers pointed out that given the refugee crisis and rise of nationalism, more opportunities positions will be available to interculturalists. It was highlighted that the field is expanding like never before, meaning the services of interculturalists will be needed now more than ever.

However, they also emphasised the difficulty of entering this field and making a living out of it. When individuals are commencing from the bottom, there is no clear career path provided, which increases the risk and challenge of the path taken. Some join intercultural field from Academia, some by being a spouse of an expat sent to a foreign country, some through language teaching. The speakers discussed that it is important to understand these aspects and that there is no easy path. All speakers agreed that it is important to find a niche of your intercultural speciality and focus on it.

More impressions from the 2017 SIETAR Europa congress can be found here.

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