American Students and the “Deutsche Mittelstand”

Business Communication & Leadership made in Germany

This summer DEX has planned a very special program: A group of American students will come to Cologne for three weeks.

They will attend a course that focuses on typical German business communication and leadership culture. The focus is on small and medium-sized businesses, as they are a specifically German phenomenon. There is nothing comparable in the USA.

The lecture of the course is given by a German professor who has lived in USA for many decades. He is thus able to bridge the gap between American and German culture.

Highlights are visits to German companies, corporations and administrations. Here, the students come into direct contact with the executives. They learn about the typical challenges of the various sectors of the economy, about German corporate culture and about how to conduct business in the context of the European Union.

They can ask leaders directly and learn what is important to them in managing their employees, business units or companies. What are the advantages and challenges of doing business in Europe or the EU?

Interspersed throughout the program are days of experiential activities. Here, students experience leadership situations themselves, challenges to their cooperation and communication. Exciting, new tasks in an unfamiliar environment create engagement. They can give their best, have to be creative and courageous, and try out new behaviors to achieve success. In a playful atmosphere, the students take action together. But then they reflect in depth on how these experiences – coupled with what they have learned in the lectures – can be applied to their lives and everyday leadership.

Last but not least, they gain insights into history, culture and politics on a European level! Visits to the industrial museum of the Ruhr region, Cologne Cathedral and Roman ruins, the Brussels Parliament and the Berlin Reichstag provide the framework that makes many cultural characteristics and current situations comprehensible.

This is the latest in a series of DEX programs with international students. Especially in times like these, it is tremendously important to give young people more opportunities for meaningful exchange and deep conversations with people from other cultures and life situations!