Intercultural competence of western teachers for Nepalese rescuers
Brodmann Maeder M
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INTRODUCTION: Educational projects in mountain rescue in Nepal have a long tradition. They are usually led by Western experts who train their Nepalese colleagues using teams of people with diverse cultural background. To better understand the challenges of these encounters, we conducted a prospective cohort study during the first mountain rescue instructor course in Nepal. METHODS: Western instructors (WIs) and Nepalese instructor candidates (NICs) were asked to self-assess their intercultural competence with the help of questionnaires. The responses were compared and analyzed for differences between WIs and NICs and differences in a pre–post assessment of the WIs. In addition, semistructured interviews were conducted with randomly selected NICs. RESULTS: We found significant differences in communication styles between NICs and WIs: NICs showed a preference to establish relationships before discussing business and not to speak openly in conflict situations. WIs were much more direct and preferred dispassionate exchanges. In an assessment after the course, WIs had changed their attitude toward the host culture. CONCLUSIONS: We found differences in communication styles between WIs and NICs that are relevant to globalized medical education. Faculty members should be prepared before implementing medical training abroad and should have time to experience the host culture.