Pre-Departure for Professionals


After over 40 years of training and research experience in intercultural effectiveness, the Centre for Intercultural Learning (CIL) has further deepened its understanding of the principles of building effective intercultural collaborations. CIL's Profile of the Interculturally Effective Person (IEP) describes actual behaviours linked to nine competencies and is the foundation for the pre-departure course.

The environment of international work has changed as a result of the forces of globalization. It is much more complex and multifaceted than it was just a few years ago. A recent study by the Centre inspired a new edition of the pre-departure course that gives more weight to two essential competencies: the ability to diagnose problems and to find innovative solutions working with and between partners; and personal and professional commitment to the sustainability of projects and programs through resilience.


This course is grounded in principles of adult learning. Experiential learning activities will encourage the learner to draw on their own experience, frame it in a new way, add layers of knowledge, and apply that learning in their upcoming assignment.

Through case studies, problem-solving scenarios and simulation exercises, participants will have the opportunity to consider the impact culture has on behaviour, their cultural tendencies and those of the people with whom they interact in their social and their professional environment.

Resource persons from the participants' destination countries provide an important component in the course. In addition to sharing objective information on their countries and their cultures, they will take part in the participants' training by acting as cultural interpreters


The purpose of this course is to increase the effectiveness of people leaving to live and work in development in a cultural context that is different from their own.

Participants will learn how to:

  • describe the influence of culture on human behaviour (including our own);
  • decode and bridge complex intercultural situations;
  • recognize the filters and communication styles that interfere in communication across cultures;
  • plan strategies for adjusting rapidly; and
  • develop an attitude and behaviour code for increased joint cooperation and a better impact on development.

Who should attend

Professionals or volunteers from organizations working internationally, who wish to increase their chances of success in their development interventions. Suitable for those on first assignment or experienced in the field, individuals who will be overseas for a short or long work period. The Centre also strongly recommends a Debriefing course upon return to Canada.

Availability and duration

The course is offered in several cities across Canada. The main cities are: Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa/Gatineau, Montreal and Halifax. The participants' geographic distribution will determine where the course will be held.

This table indicates the start dates, end dates, durations and deadline for registration for the pre-departure for professionals courses.
Start DateEnd DateDuration of the coursesDeadline for registration
2015-09-222015-09-232 days2015-09-14
2015-10-262015-10-272 days2015-10-19

The pre-departure course is also available on demand. Although it is strongly recommended to opt for the three-day course, the Centre has developed a two-day course and a one-day course to meet the needs of certain clients. In such cases, clients must choose from the three-day course list of objectives. The content, duration and location of the course will be determined in consultation with a CIL Learning Advisor.

How can I register?

Register Now

Additional information

For more information, please communicate with the Centre at:

Telephone: 343-203-8400

Toll free (in Canada): 1-800-852-9211

Facsimile: 819-997-5409

Facsimile toll-free (in Canada): 1-877-723-1604


Participant comments

“I had some apprehension and questions, and the course allowed me to put things back in context, to rethink my points of view, to learn new strategies and tools that will help me to succeed in my assignment. I even got to know myself a little better.”

“Very useful and relevant. The session with the people from the destination countries was very good.”

“I liked the concrete examples from real experiences. A very useful, well-organized workshop.”

“Lots to think about. Raised awareness about intercultural differences and tools to manage these differences.”

“The course included a variety of teaching and communication techniques to maintain my interest and engagement desire.”