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Institute for Tourism Studies Macao
22.206683, 113.548377
Topic Final Transfer Task/ Difficult situation

Difficult situation

The local working habits in school in Macao differ time to time from the ways we are used to study in Haaga-Helia. Many lectures are really theory based but teachers have tendency to speak more freely. Local students are often very shy to answer questions and expressing their own opinions to others.

In the intercultural point of view I faced one difficult situation concerning group work project. We had a big group work project in our Brand Man- agement course. The group consisted of two other exchange students and two Mainland China students who study in Macao. Working in the croup with people from other culture can sometimes be challenging but it also gives more outcomes from the working experience.


When working with students from other country the first difficult thing we faced was the language barrier, which occurred time to time. Mainland China students that we work with have more difficulties to speak English than us exchange students. It was sometimes hard to explain your opinions to the other person in the group and get yourself understood right. So it took sometimes more time to get into conclusion inside the group.

Our studying habits differ from the ones that the Mainland Chinese stu- dents have here in Macao. They prefer more to do the different tasks to- gether and we like more dividing the parts of the project so everyone can do them when they have time. Of course they are really hard working and were eager to finish the project in time like we exchange students.

When working especially with Mainland China students you have to be careful with the differences in cultural issues. Some nonverbal communica- tion ways might seem offensive to Chinese people. For example you can- not overreact when asking personal questions or write things in red ink. At this point I was already aware of these things we did not face any difficul- ties with this issue.

The Mainland China students are also more quite when comparing Finnish people and our habits to work in group in school. They are shyer to im- press their opinions in the group discussions. So I needed to be careful not to overstep their opinions in the discussions and give their time to express themselves.


At the beginning of the project we all ate lunch together. The Mainland China students cooked us their traditional food we told them about Finnish culture. It was a really good way to get to know each other better and made working in group lot easier and less awkward.

I think we all needed to change our usual working habits when doing the project. I needed to do more compromises from my own studying habits and adapt the studying methods that locals prefer here. Although I some- times thought that my opinion would give the best resolution I was willing to compromise in that way that the conclusion satisficed all.

Nonverbal communication was also an important strategy in the resolution. Since we had the language barrier from time to time I needed to express myself also well nonverbally that some idea was really good. Also I needed to lower my voice since the Mainland Chinese were quieter than us and they might have felt loud voice offensive.

Intercultural awareness

Before I came to Macau I was already aware that our working habits in school would be different. I knew that I had to be careful not to offense someone since the cultural differences. I also knew that even if you know you might be right in something you have to prepare yourself to make compromises both in projects and in free time. Finnish way of talking is not that polite so I was prepared to pay attention to my manners and be extra polite for example using phrases like ‘please’.


Although we had differences in cultures and working manners we man- aged to do the project work successfully. We managed to solve all the diffi- culties we faced during the project. We learned lot from each other and I adapted useful ways to work in intercultural group for the future.

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