FEB 05, 2014 11:00 AM PST

Overcoming language and cultural differences: Adapting to meet the training needs of an international audience

  • Quality Assurance/Training Coordinator, University of Texas at San Antonio
      Laurie Long is the Quality Assurance and Training Coordinator for the Laboratory Animal Resources Center at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She was key in creating and now maintaining the Animal Care and Use Training Program, which offers research personnel training in the bio methodologies of various laboratory animal species. The program also provides the required and specialized surgical training in rodent and other various laboratory animal species. She and her technician also provide various technical services in support of research at UTSA. Laurie also is the technical coordinator for the specialty training exchange program between UTSA and Cinvestav, Mexico City, Mexico. The program is a four-week training exchange internship for Cinvestav veterinary staff where they learn directly from UTSA animal care program personnel through didactic hands on training and mentoring. In July 2013 Laurie was one of a four-member team of instructors selected and invited to participate in a two-week international training course for 24 students in the Biomethodology and Care of Laboratory Animals (Mice, Rats & Rabbits) at Shanghai Vocational and Technical College of Agriculture and Foresty, Shanghai, China. She has been an instructor at Texas Branch and National AALAS meetings for suturing skills training workshop. Laurie is also responsible for managing the day-to-day animal health care and monitoring program under the direction of attending veterinarian. She is also responsible for the quality assurance program that includes the monitoring of cage wash and autoclave functionality, room and cage sanitation and water quality. Laurie is also the technical study coordinator for UTSA collaborative contract research projects. During her 16 plus years in the laboratory animal field, she has held a variety of positions, including; veterinary technician, surgical coordinator, facility manager, training coordinator, IACUC Coordinator, post approval monitoring, and technical study coordinator.


    Training in your own institution or corporation can be challenging in trying to meet the goals of the program and the needs of the researchers. If you are challenged with training visiting international researchers or instructing overseas, tried and true methods that you have relied on may not be applicable. When you are at your own institution, you share with most of your students, a similar cultural background so communication and understanding is easier since you share a common ground. However, when you are presented with research personnel where english is their secondary language (or may not exist at all) you as the trainer are have to find a way to meet the needs of that student or students to fulfill their training requirements. You cannot use similar cultural references to relay information because those bridges do not exist. You have to adapt and step outside your comfort zone and make the training experience for your student personal and relatable. If you are training overseas, your physical training environment may present challenges. You may not have all the tools and equipment you need so you will have to adapt to meet the training needs. This presentation will discuss training outside those "comfort zones" when working with an international audience through my personnel experience. I will discuss how to adapt to your audience and training with international students whether at home or abroad. The presentation will discuss lessons learned and how changing your perspective can improve your own training program and how it will enhance your communication skills.

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