For our May focus, we are pleased to present Pascale Schmidt-Dubois, one of our adjunct professors.
In what way does intercultural engagement impact you at a professional and a personal level ?
At IESEG, I teach intercultural communication and management to Bachelor students as well as those doing their Master’s. For the first year students, who are mostly French, I enjoy introducing them to the field of intercultural communication and giving them tools to adapt more effectively when they study abroad in their second or third year. In the Master’s courses, the students are a mix of French and international students, which gives me the opportunity to transform the course into real life practice. Students learn a lot from each other by exchanging their viewpoints and intercultural experiences.
I also work as an intercultural consultant for an American firm that sends me clients, who are either foreigners moving to France, or French who are about to move abroad. I have specialised in youth and family programs, helping children and their family face the challenges of moving abroad.
On a personal level, I am a so-called « third culture kid », raised in a multicultural and multilingual environment which I am continuing now with my own family, speaking German to my children and travelling abroad together as much as possible.
How/when did you become interested in the subject of intercultural engagement/com/management ?
My mother is French and my father is American, but I spent all my childhood in Germany. Later I moved to Malaysia and then did my university studies in Montreal, Canada. So from an early age on, switching culture codes and languages was what I considered being normal until I moved back “home” to France at the age of 25. I experienced quite a culture shock, feeling very clumsy as I seemed French on the outside but had completely different culture codes inside.
It was reading and talking about intercultural experiences, which allowed me to put words and explanations on the feelings and challenges one has when communicating across cultures. When I explain this to the international students, I often get these “aha” moments where they realize that, what they were experiencing, was actually a normal process.
What incited you to become a member of ICIE and what do you hope to get out of being part of the center and what do you hope to contribute ?
I enjoy working at IESEG, which provides a unique environment of cultural diversity. It gives me the opportunity to meet and work with colleagues from all over the world and take part in international conferences as well as innovative projects such as promoting cultural intelligence within IESEG, which recently won a price of excellence for pedagogical innovation.
I am also interested in relating intercultural topics to other fields, such as diversity and inclusion management. More specifically, my main subject of interest is neurodiversity inclusion in higher education and at the workplace. Moving from intercultural management to diversity management seems to be the next logical step and I am looking forward to new discoveries, encounters and research projects!