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Dwellworks Intern Blog   [Week 8]

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Welcome to the 2017 Dwellworks Intern blog! Each week until mid-August, our summer interns will be blogging about their Dwellworks Experience and musings from the Internship Program.

Below are their thoughts from week eight.

Read their blogs from week seven here.


Leslie Flynn | Something I Learned at Intercultural Training

Nicole Barile (Director of Intercultural Services) and her team joined us this week for an intern intercultural training session. Everyone on the Intercultural Services team had really neat global experience, living and working in other countries. They shared helpful tips and funny stories that proved how important intercultural training is for cross-cultural teams. 

Some of the most interesting things I learned during this training were:

+ There are two parts to culture: explicit and implicit. Explicit culture can be observed; it includes common behaviors in the culture. Implicit culture, however, consists of the attitudes and values that guide how people interact. Cultural training helps people understand the nuances of implicit culture. 

+ Business and personal relationships differ greatly among cultures. Misunderstanding of these relationships can lead to failed assignments.

+ It is better to refrain from using hand gestures in a new country until you learn their local meaning, or else you may unintentionally offend someone.


Aruni Prakash | Something I Learned from Business Etiquette Training

One of the many reasons why Dwellworks has a great intern program is the fact that the trainings we go through are interesting and useful. During the Business Etiquette training, I was taught basic etiquette skills; however, what made this training beneficial was that we learned etiquette for various types of companies and situations. Dwellworks really wants its interns to become successful in any area we choose to work in, so learning skills for all types of situations was a very intelligent way for the company to help its interns.


Emily Llewelyn | Why I Would Recommend This Internship to My Classmates

I’m still only half-way through my internship here at the Truro office, but so far this internship has been a really interesting and fun experience. I have learned all sorts of processes and things that I never would have thought about in school or university and some skills that I will be taking back to university with me.

Work life is a different world to university life, and working at Dwellworks has been different to other jobs I had in the past too. All of these different experiences have enabled me to broaden my horizons and look into working outside of what I would first look to, so I would always encourage fellow classmates to take opportunities like this and get as many different experiences as possible.

Not only that, everybody else here has been really lovely and welcoming, and the office can have its moments of being lively and passionate as well as quiet and focussed, so I am happy to have had the chance to work in such a welcoming and fun example of work life.


Oona Haffey | Something I Learned at Intercultural Training

Nicole Barile and her team met with the interns this week to discuss cultural training and its importance here at Dwellworks. The session began with a brief exercise where we wrote about how it felt to write with our non-dominant hand. This set the tone for the session because everyone realized how uncomfortable and difficult it is to be out of your comfort zone, just like our clients feel when being immersed into a new culture. The most interesting thing I learned from this training was how time is perceived. Nicole explained how this dimension is polychronic or monochronic. A polychronic culture views time in a looser, more laid-back sense while a monochronic culture is more controlled and strict with their time. I found this to be intriguing because time is a very important thing in business and Dwellworks has clients and offices across many polychronic and monochronic cultures.


Hailey Atkins | Visiting Cleveland

This week I was presented the opportunity to travel down to Cleveland to visit the Dwellworks Headquarters. I was quite excited, not only because I have never been to Cleveland, but also because I wanted to see what the Cleveland office was all about. Walking into the office, the set up and décor with bright colors fits the culture of Dwellworks, similarly to the office in Detroit. Bobby, the other Detroit Intern, and I made the trip specifically to record our Intern Project video. After collaborating with other interns over video chat and phone, it was nice to finally meet the majority of the Cleveland Interns while there. Even though our day was mostly spent in one room, a few interns showed Bobby and I around Cleveland on our lunch break. We walked around the city and had lunch at local food trucks. The day in Cleveland flew by and I was sad to leave; but it was such a fun experience to be able to visit the Headquarters and meet the other interns.


Maggie Lowman | Something I Learned at Intercultural Training

The cultural training my fellow interns and I received this past week was my favorite training yet. Not only did we get the chance to learn about cultural differences, but we also had the opportunity to take a test prior to the training that offered our individual scores on each of the cultural spectrums we talked about. The training focused on identifying typical differences and providing real life examples of how these differences can effect business and communication.

I was particularly interested in the polychronic vs monochronic cultural mindsets. While polychronic cultures (such as many Latin American cultures) view time as flexible, monochronic cultures (such as American culture) see time as linear. I was always raised to believe that five minutes early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable. I find it so interesting that to many, arrive at 9 means arrive between 9 and 9:30. I know that if I were to enter a polychronic culture without understanding this key cultural difference, I would constantly be offended by others’ lack of punctuality. Knowing that polychronic cultures see time as unlimited and are likely to be late, not because they are rude but because of the culture in which they were raised, would help me understand and anticipate this behavior.

This training helped me understand not only other cultures, but also my similarities to certain cultures. I was able to see the scores of each country and compare them to my own culture scores. I found it funny that a fair amount of my results didn’t align with typical American culture. This just goes to show that while we can learn a lot and prevent frustration by studying cultures, not everybody in a certain country or culture is going to abide by these generalizations. Still, understanding the broad mindset of a culture is extremely important when participating in global business, and even this small taste of that training helped me feel more confident and prepared to engage with other cultures.


Dan Berghaus | Something I Learned Through the Group Project

Working with all the interns on a large group project has been a fun challenge. It can be difficult to coordinate with one another, as we are in three different time zones and in four different offices, but working alongside one another has been yielding great ideas and results, and I love seeing each one of our strengths shine through during different stages of our project.

One thing I’ve learned from working on our project together is to remain flexible and fluid. Since there are 14 of us, ideas, plans, and deadlines are constantly changing. Remaining flexible was a challenge for me at first, as I’m used to working quickly and finishing tasks alone and on my own time, but I have learned that working within a large group requires a great deal of fluidity and patience, and I have been able to adapt accordingly.

Although we only have a few weeks left of our internship, and a great amount of work to finish on our project, I am confident that we will produce quality products for Dwellworks.


Anna Zschuppe | Something I Learned at Intercultural Training

During the cultural training class this past week, I learned how different cultures and their traditions affect the way individuals interact and communicate with one another. For instance, organizations in nations like China are high-context cultures, meaning that they value interpersonal relationships. Because of this, people in business need to converse and establish trust before diving into business matters. On the other hand, companies in low-context cultures like the United States prefer direct communication by delving straight into business.  As the world is becoming more global, it is important for young professionals to understand and respect different practices in order to communicate clearly and succeed.

This lesson reminded me of a class that I took last semester where I learned how to write and speak to global audiences. Moreover, this training helped me with a project that I am working on this summer for the human resources department. Here, I am creating an employment landscape for Costa Rica and am researching best recruitment tactics. To do this, I am looking at the society and culture of the nation to determine how to attract and retain candidates. Knowing that Costa Rica is a high-context culture, recruiters from Dwellworks need to make sure that they’re creating conversation with the applicants and making them feel welcomed rather than going right into the interview questions.

This in mind, what I liked most about the cultural training workshop was that it brought life to the concepts learned in class and showed how they are applied in the world of business every day.


Alex Leszcz | What My Desk Looks Like

My desk is a pretty basic cubicle with nothing special going on. In the far-left corner, behind me, I keep my notepad with all the intern project notes and various thoughts on it. Sometimes you will see a few papers on top, depending on what I have been working on. Right above that is the lamp, that I have never touched - the base holds my car keys, headphones, and my keycard for access to the building. Next to my lamp is my lunch. I usually eat all throughout the day so it is important to have it in arms reach at all times. Next to that is my phone, small pad of paper, and some post-it notes. I always keep those things close in case I need to write something down while speaking with vendor or client. My computer is right in the middle, where the desk curves around the corner, and to the right is where my water cup stays. Next to that has various papers and open files I am working on. Sometimes this area has nothing going on, other times there are many papers stacked on each other. Next to that work area is my intern binder. The all-important binder with much of the information I need to complete this blog post, take notes on our various seminars, and figure out when to submit my timesheet so I can get paid. Although my desk has nothing special going on, it still feels like mine. I know where everything is, how its organized, and where to put things, and that makes me feel comfortable here.


Jeff Britton | Something I Learned at Intercultural Training

This past week, my fellow interns and I took part in a cultural training seminar in the Cleveland office to learn about the needs of people to be culturally literate in their environment in order to thrive. The first activity we took part in was writing a phrase in pen with our non-dominant hand about how it felt to write with our weak hand. My first thought was, “I thought this seminar would be more relaxing,” because writing with my weak hand took considerable concentration. Likewise, I believe myself and others may view traveling abroad as a far more relaxing experience than it may be in reality if the traveling party is not aware of the culture/environment they are stepping into.


Katharine Zavagno | A Project I’ve Been Working on That Helps My Department

In addition to the Office 365 training videos the interns and I created, we were asked to create training courses for our specific departments. For destination services, I chose to create an instructional presentation on how to run a WIP, a process that ensures all program close dates are accurate. Running the WIP is a routine process that all DS managers can complete quickly and easily. However, to new hires, this task may seem daunting upon first joining the team. My presentation breaks this process into steps, providing instruction via screenshots to enable each person to move at their own pace. My hope is that my presentation will provide new managers with a helpful guide to completing this process.


To browse more posts about Dwellworks Culture, click here

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