Chris Merkelbach Visit

Photo of TU Darmstadt Karo 5 building in Germany.
TU Darmstadt Karo 5 Building
Photo of Dr. Chris Merkelbach
Dr. Chris Merkelbach

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Global Education Office are pleased to welcome Dr. Chris Merkelbach, Executive Director of the Language Center and Director of the Center for Intercultural Competence at the Technische Universität in Darmstadt, Germany, to campus March 22-29.

Throughout the week, there are a few opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to connect with Dr. Merkelbach. 

Faculty study abroad program leaders are invited to participate in a workshop led by Dr. Merkelbach. Please expect to receive an email invitation with additional information.

The theme of the workshop is the importance of intercultural competence for a successful experience abroad and how recognition and understanding of cultural difference can be integrated into study abroad programs, even those that last only a few weeks. 

Dr. Merkelbach will discuss specific dimensions of culture in which differences become evident or not, as well as skills and knowledge that may assist students in coping with their culture shock.  Many of his examples will focus on the culture of Germany, where he grew up and currently works, as well as Chinese culture, based on his more than 20 years as a German professor in China and Taiwan. 

Attendees are encouraged to share examples and strategies related to the culture of the program they lead as part of a “tool kit” that will be available on the Global Education website. 

In order to accommodate teaching schedules, two sessions for faculty program leaders have been scheduled:

  • Monday, March 25, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Newman Library Multipurpose Room (Room 101)
  • Wednesday, March 27, 10:10-11:00 a.m., Newman Library Athenaeum Classroom (Room 124)

Refreshments will be served.

Please respond to the email invitation by Monday, March 18. By Wednesday, March 20, you will receive an e-mail confirming your participation in one or the other session.

Tuesday, March 26, 3:00-4:00 p.m. | Brush Mountain A, Squires Student Center

Is culture shock fact or fiction?  Dr. Chris Merkelbach, Executive Director of the Language Center and Director of the Center for Intercultural Competence at the Technische Universität in Darmstadt, Germany, will discuss intercultural competence as a basic skill for study, life, and work and its importance in today’s global society.  He will describe practical strategies for successfully adapting to a learning or work environment in another culture.  Many of his examples will focus on the culture of Germany, where he grew up and currently works, as well as Chinese culture, based on his more than 20 years as a German professor in China and Taiwan. 

For questions, contact Debra Stoudt

Thursday, March 28, 4:00-5:00 p.m. | Newman Library Athenaeum classroom (Room 124)

Philina Wittke, Head of the Virginia Tech-Technical University of Darmstadt (TUD) Liaison Office, and Dr. Chris Merkelbach, Director of the Center for Intercultural Competence and Executive Director of the Language Resource Center at the TUD, will provide information and advice for undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing study, work, and living opportunities in Germany - and how to negotiate all three successfully.  Refreshments will be served.

Please contact, Philina Wittke.