Intercultural Leadership Seminar

The Intercultural Leadership Seminar (ILS) is designed for international and U.S. students who want to learn how to be more effective in a global environment. ILS includes brief lectures, discussion, experiential activities, and small group work. While at ILS you will:

  • Increase your awareness of the impact of culture on communication styles;
  • Gain skills necessary for effective intercultural communication;
  • Discover your own leadership potential; and
  • Develop and enhance your intercultural competence.

Date, Time and Location

ILS will be held on Monday, February 26, 2018, 9am-6pm, Anderson ABCD, Michigan Union (1st floor). The program curriculum has been designed with the expectation that participants will attend its entire program. Attendance is free.


Current students enrolled at U-M are eligible to apply. International scholars and alumni who have already graduated are not eligible to apply. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and acceptance priority will be given to students who have not attended ILS previously.

Questions? Contact the International Center at


ILS Participants' Reflections

Praveen"In the current day and age of technology, where it is evident that we interact with people from various parts of globe, it is evident that interpersonal and intercultural communication skills are of utmost importance to succeed in any project we undertake. The Intercultural Leadership Seminar (ILS) provided a great insight into aspects of intercultural communication, which we often tend to ignore or notice. It also provided a platform where I could several like-minded people with same desire and passion to learn. Several people whom I met here are good friends even now. We had an opportunity to share our viewpoints with each other on several topics which we discussed over the two days, which provided a gateway of understanding how differently people perceive the information shared. My personal goal from the ILS would be to implement the various skills that I acquired and be a more effective communicator."

Praveen Varma Bhupathiraju (College of Engineering graduate student)


Rhonda"The Intercultural Leadership Seminar (ILS) was one of my most valuable lessons I have experienced while in graduate school. Before ILS, I did not understand how to overcome communication barriers and would often feel self-conscious. The ILS seminar gave me relevant, tangible solutions to overcoming communication barriers which ultimately increased my cultural competence and my overall confidence. I really enjoyed learning about the diversity in cultural communication across the world! Verbal/Nonverbal communication is so imperative to creating and sustaining relationships both in a personal and professional context. ILS created the perfect forum to get to know students across all academic disciplines within the University of Michigan. I came away from this experience with new friends from a diverse array of nationalities. I enjoyed the steep depth of conversations and appreciate the staff's intentional efforts to help me understand the importance of cultural communication and competence."

Rhonda Bishop (Ford School of Public Policy graduate student)


Cheryl“Wherever life takes each of us, it is more than likely if not a given in today's world that we will be engaged with people from a wide array of backgrounds and cultures. ILS was an invaluable experience that allowed me to converse and learn from various students within my community. I was constantly reminded that while we may think we are effective communicators that there is always something new to learn, that our expectations should always be kept in check and that we are so influenced by our own lenses, a function of our own culture in how we approach the world and others. I especially enjoyed the conversations I had one-on-one with other ILS participants - they were informed, refreshing and increased my desire to pursue events where I interact with the diverse student body that exists at U of M.”

Gaia Cicerchia (School of Kinesiology undergraduate student)


Lu Zhang"I am a second-year student in Doctor of Pharmacy Program and intercultural leadership plays an essential role in my future career. ILS provided me a chance to discuss a lot of interesting culture-related topics with people who have different backgrounds from me. Through various activities, I was surprised that culture difference did exist in almost every aspect of our life. That is also where the beauty of our world lies. However, those differences may lead to misunderstanding, misinformation, and even conflicts in our interaction. I learned the importance of managing one's own emotion and believe communicating with respect and sincerity is the best way to eliminate conflict, and help each other grow in the intercultural skills development. I used the Vision Statement I drafted at ILS for a leadership application with the Multicultural Pharmacy Student Organization at College of Pharmacy. All in all, I strongly appreciate my experience in ILS, an event about diversity, respect, and friendship."

Lu Zhang (College of Pharmacy graduate student)


Additional Quotes from the Former Participants:

"I really enjoyed interacting with other participants... It is rare to be in environment where people are open so quickly…I realized how often I stay in my comfort zone and how I must miss so many opportunities to interact with people and grow."

"I've been thinking a lot about my vision for life but was struggling to generate a statement and this was spot on. Thanks for this!"

"It provides us with an opportunity for introspection and actually works on aspects of our personality that we expect from others. The tips provided for the critical moment dialogue are very helpful and i personally believe that i could use them in several situations to great effect."

"I think this was obviously a very thoughtful seminar. Despite my familiarity and experience with the subject I still felt like it was valuable and provides me concentrated time to reflect within a useful framework. Thank you for your time offering this opportunity!"