PD8: Intercultural Skills

PD8: Intercultural Skills gives students the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today’s diverse workplaces. There’s more to cultural sensitivity than smiling and shaking hands — your colleagues may have different customs and cultural norms, and they deserve respect and accommodation. Students who take PD8 learn how to navigate cultural differences, adapt within international workplaces, and avoid common misunderstandings.

What do PD8 students do?

  • Explore cultural differences in both verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Consider the impact culture can have on relationships with supervisors and attitudes towards work
  • Reflect on their experiences with cultural differences in the workplace
  • Develop strategies for success in diverse workplaces

If you've completed PD8 and want to feature the course on your résumé, you're welcome to use and adapt the following bullet points in a "Professional Development" or "Relevant Courses" section:

  • Gained awareness of how culture shapes thought, behaviours, and reactions in order to respond professionally in real-life intercultural situations
  • Learned common cultural differences such as orientation toward time/individual vs. group/power and authority/tasks vs. relationships/risk tolerance vs. risk avoidance, and how to maintain positive intercultural workplace relationships based on this knowledge
  • Practiced cross-cultural communication when working with colleagues and supervisors in different hierarchies and teams in a simulation
  • Evaluated and reflected on productivity motivators in different cultures; determined personal motivator in order to be more productive in the workplace

How are PD8 students graded?

PD8 students complete a series of assignments on a near-weekly basis over the course of the term. To pass the course, students must earn an overall grade of 50% or higher. Students must also earn a grade of 50% or higher on the final assignment to earn their credit. Students can deepen their learning by completing a bonus assignment worth 5% during the term.

If you have a question about grading in PD8, contact the course team using the information in the sidebar.


PD8’s instructor is Dr. Svitlana Taraban-Gordon, a senior instructional developer (graduate programs and internationalization) at the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Teaching Excellence.


PD8 is offered during the Winter and Spring terms.

Enrolment information

PD8 is an elective PD course for students in all faculties. Students must enrol themselves in the course using Quest.

Contact information

Course team: pd8@uwaterloo.ca

ISC: Trish Owens powens@uwaterloo.ca