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Exploratory visit and project definition “Aligning Swiss and Vietnamese Perspectives on Global Competences”

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  • Projektleiter/in : Dr. Sandra McGury
  • Stellv. Projektleiter/in : Prof. Dr. Patrick Studer
  • Projektteam : Jacqueline Bürki, Prof. Dr. Dang Thi Thu Hien
  • Projektvolumen : CHF 21'000
  • Projektstatus : abgeschlossen
  • Drittmittelgeber : EU und andere Internationale Programme (Leading House Ost- und Südostasien)
  • Projektpartner : Hanoi University
  • Kontaktperson : Sandra McGury


As new collaborators, Sandra McGury from the ZHAW working in the Swiss Global Competence Lab (SGCL) and Thi Thu Hien Dang from Hanoi University Vietnam (HANU) will use this research grant to write several project funding applications to fund their future project Aligning Swiss and Vietnamese Perspectives on Global Competences.

The following project description is a tentative description of the future project Aligning Swiss and Vietnamese Perspectives on Global Competences that will be fleshed out in detail as part of the Leading House’s Partnership Grant ASEAN funding period, February 2023-January 2024.The SGCL, founded by a consortium of Swiss universities of applied sciences (BFH Business School, HES-SO, SUPSI and ZHAW), has a panel of experts in the field of intercultural and global competences, the internationalization of the curriculum across disciplines, and English Medium of Instruction.

The SGCL is currently developing a certificate on “Intercultural Competences” targeting a diverse range of stakeholders within Switzerland, mainly catering to staff and students within the broad field of education. Throughout the last year, the lab and its affiliated experts have successfully developed a certificate for “English as a Medium of Instruction”, organized the Internationalization of the Curriculum event in November 2022 and developed the groundwork for an international training module on intercultural competences targeted at research, teaching, and administrative staff at universities of applied sciences in Switzerland (to be offered in the spring of 2023, and based on a study conducted between July and September 2022). Building on this momentum, SGCL is continuously revising and improving its services, which is why we believe that a collaboration with colleagues and students at HANU is crucial. Up until this point, SGCL has mainly focused on and collaborated with partners from Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Japan. Not only does scholarly literature lack ASEAN’s perspectives on global competences, but our lab has not yet been able to extend its collaborative research to Southeast Asia. Thus, we would like to start including HANU in our continuous effort to bringing global perspectives to the Swiss tertiary education sector, by expanding our current ongoing study to Vietnam to measure awareness and needs of as well as attitudes towards intercultural competence and global skills. Furthermore, we would like to expand our understanding of developing curricula from a Vietnamese perspective.One of ten foreign language departments at HANU, the German Department’s motto is “Hanu brings you to the world”, aiming at training its students in global citizenship. In particular, the Department of German offers courses on intercultural communication practices and the teaching staff tries to incorporate intercultural practices throughout their teachings. The team around Thi Thu Hien Dang, the Head of the German Department, is specialized in language programs and has implemented the module Intercultural Communication as an obligatory class in the German program focusing on negotiating Vietnamese-German misunderstandings taking into account cultural differences and similarities. Furthermore, with respect to the internationalization of the curriculum, HANU’s programs of study are re-accredited and reviewed every two years to ensure international comparability and compatibility.Based on our individual universities’ needs, we see excellent potential to complement each other’s expertise mainly in three regards:

  1. On the Swiss side:The SGCL plans to expand and adapt their existing intercultural competence survey instrument to target Vietnamese students and university employees. This way, we believe that the SGCL can gather important information that can help review and improve trainings that are currently offered, and maybe even develop country-specific modules. SGCL hopes to gain insight to the topic of global competences and global citizenship from a point of view SGCL hasn’t yet been able to include in its studies.
  2. On the Vietnamese side:For the next program review process, HANU will benefit from the Swiss expertise in the field of internationalization of the curriculum. SGCL will assess the existing programs from an international perspective and will help HANU define and implement potential changes as well as offer training intervention if necessary.
  3. Joint research:Based on both the results of the intercultural survey and HANU’s assessment, the project aims at two main research outputs, namely (i) the design of an online module on intercultural competences with focus on Vietnamese-European partnerships, and (ii) a research chapter (or section) in a handbook on intercultural competences. While the goal is to find independent publishers for both activities, we will have the option to include our outputs in SGLC’s website and handbook series (both of which are currently under way and should be published by summer 2023).

Furthermore, to promote and disseminate the project outputs, we will organize a symposium, i.e., a combination of talks and workshops, revolving around the topic of global competences from the Swiss-Vietnamese perspective.The Leading House partnership grant applied for in this proposal will be used to finance the initial stages of our new research collaboration that will allow us to flesh out the project ideas laid out above. The goals of our initial collaboration thus revolve around the submission of project proposals to several funding agencies to implement the project. We plan to submit funding applications to Movetia and Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft.