What a Feeling! – A Newcomer’s Delight at SIETAR Europa Congress (by Yoshiko Kurisaki)

Back home from Valencia with thirty (30) business cards and two more kilograms of weight, I am feeling good!

My first SIETAR Europa Congress (21 – 23 May, 2015) has turned out to be a life event for me. At the Congress, every moment was not to miss. The fresh stimulus hit my brain non-stop, and above all, what people I met! Everyone was there to meet new people and to learn new ideas from every opportunity.

I never met so many people who bear on their backs a wide variety of cultures, and who understood and even advocate the importance of cultural competence.

What a delight!

I am usually alone in my work, which revolves around supporting businesses that work with distinctively different cultures of Europe and Japan. It is not unusual to have to convince people of the reasons why culture is in the centre of international business management or HR challenges, and that it is not merely a hobby or a personal matter. I am always thinking in what ways I could better explain that cultural competence is a subject for which you must work on your heart, rather than asking me to pass you a quick and easy solution off-the-shelf.

At the SIETAR Congress, all were on the contrary. Everyone knew well the importance of culture in life, work, education, and more. It was almost meditating to know that I am not alone.

On the technical front, the Congress has provided me with excellent training opportunities. By attending sessions, I learned various techniques of exercises and how to lead them, how to move your body and use the space during presentation to communicate efficiently with the audience, how to organise an online training, and many other things. I thank all the presenters who showed me their best performance: Thiagi, Christine, Shelley, Catherine, to name only a few.

I should not forget to mention that the work behind the scenes undertaken by the Secretariat of SIETAR Europa was valuable and admirable.

In short, the SIETAR Congress was nothing like the conventional business seminars, which I have attended many times in the past. I felt that people working on cross-cultural understanding do not hesitate to reveal their hearts and minds. They are interested in people. They do not hide the human side of themselves.

I am convinced that I dove into a professional community with a human mind.

Yoshiko Kurisaki is the Founder and Executive Consultant of Europe-Japan Dynamics. Yoshiko is a Japanese national, lived in four countries in Asia, North America and Europe, and established in Switzerland. Drawing upon her first-hand experience of working in these countries for over 25 years, she provides consulting and workshops to Swiss and European companies doing business with Japan. Website 

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