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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 your own and others’ cultures and communication styles
  • Gain skills necessary for effective intercultural communication
  • Discover your own leadership potential and enhance your intercultural competence
  • Develop friendships and help each other have a successful U-M experience.

ILS Photo

Date, Time and Location

Monday and Tuesday of October 13 and 14 (fall study break) in Anderson ABCD, Michigan Union (1st floor). Please note, this is not an overnight program.

Application Process and Deadline

The program curriculum has been designed with the expectation that participants will attend the entire program. If you apply and realize later that you are unable to attend the entire program, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can open up the space for someone else. Attendance at ILS is free.

To be eligible, you must be a student currently attending U-M. 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. Applications will be accepted in September. 

Questions? Contact the International Center at


ILS Participants' Reflections

ILS Participant Katerina Chekhovskiy

“ILS helped me view cultures through different ways, using various methods, to better understand and assess the behavior of individuals from diverse backgrounds. ILS was a great experience because I made countless new friends that had a unique perspective to share, that helped me personally identify what leadership means within the context of my life, my experiences, and the people I interact with. Assessing and discussing different case studies of businesses that had succeeded or failed in certain countries also illustrated how imperative it is to understand cultures and societies in order to have clear communication and establish a strong network of global commerce. Just within the weekend I attended ILS, I learned so many valuable concepts and skills, that I will continue to apply in my future, including the importance and process of crafting a vision statement, a skill I will continue to use as I set future goals, in all facets of life. ILS was a great way to expand my horizons and to recognize who an intercultural leader is, and how I can achieve some of those characteristics in my own life.” - Katerina Chekhovskiy, LS&A (Biomolecular Science and minor in French and Ukrainian). 2014 winter participant.

ILS Participant Jamie Covell

“ILS challenged me in several ways, in which I was looking forward too. After taking my assigned seat my worries lessoned about where I was going to sit for the entirety of the conference but also heightened because I wasn't sure how to go about interacting with others at my table. I am a natural leader, so I tried holding back within the group I was assigned in order to make sure I was allowing others to participate. However, after several long awkward silences, I naturally became the first one to talk and ask questions to others in my group. ILS provided a great opportunity to force you out of your comfort zone in a safe way and allow for personal growth in intercultural experiences.” – Jamie Covell, Graduate Student, School of Social Work. 2014 winter participant.

ILS Participant Hannah Feldshuh

“When I first arrived at the Intercultural Leadership Seminar, I had no idea what to expect. I wondered, how can one learn about a topic as broad and amorphous as leadership in a classroom? What will I be able to take away from this experience? After the first evening of the seminar, all of these concerns were thoroughly dispelled. I realized that ILS offered me the opportunity to not only engage intercultural issues in an interactive and engaging setting, but also provided a safe and supportive avenue to develop my own leadership qualities. One of my favorite exercises was the card game. At the end of the game, we dialogued about how these feelings of misunderstanding and isolation reflect the difficulties of engaging in an intercultural setting. In many ways, we spent the rest of our time together discovering how to fight those feelings of impatience and frustration. By the end of the conference, I suspect if we had played the card game again, we all would have approached the task differently; likely with more enthusiasm and ability to be comfortable in our own discomfort. While learning to be a leader and a global citizen are lifelong pursuits, ILS was a comprehensive and useful first step.” – Hannah Feldshuh, Undergraduate Student, LS&A (International Studies and Asian Languages and Cultures). 2014 winter participant.

ILS Participant Courtney Green

“I had a wonderful experience with ILS. I realized how important it is to reflect upon your own travel experiences and interactions with students or colleagues from a different culture. Differences are important to acknowledge, and have often led me to appreciate aspects of my own culture that I previously took for granted. At the same time, there is much to learn from other cultures, and knowing how to effectively communicate is very important. I definitely think ILS has helped me improve my cross-cultural communications skills while meeting some awesome students at the same time!”- Courtney Green, Undergraduate Student, Ford School of Public Policy with Arabic language Minor. 2013 fall participant.

ILS Participant Ye (Eric) Yue

“As a master student graduating in December, 2013, I am fortunate to be able to participate in ILS this term. ILS provides me with a fascinating opportunity to explore and improve intercultural leadership with varieties of talented U.S. and international students in a relatively safe and comfortable environment. With the patient instruction of the organizers and active involvement of participants, I have gone through a series of activities that lead me to discover deeper insights about myself and others, learned plenty of relevant theories and practical tools that make me more effective as a leader in intercultural settings, and communicated and made friends with them more smoothly than before. I wish in the future ILS could be a bit longer than this time (given enough sponsorship), so that participants could enjoy ILS even more and make closer friends!” - Ye (Eric) Yue, Graduate Student, College of Engineering and School of Natural Resources and Environment. 2013 fall participant.


Last reviewed: 08/14