How Clay helped raising intercultural awareness at Fontys University

This April three of our team members held a guest lecture at Fontys University about intercultural awareness. What better way to set an example of this important topic than having an Amsterdam based scale-up present its findings of working with an intercultural team, right!

Fontys University Fontys University is situated in Eindhoven and is the biggest public educational institution in the south of the Netherlands. Fontys connects education and research to innovation processes in several sectors, therefore the positive impact the university has on its region is enormous!

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Fontys assures delivering talented young adults by the time they graduate. Our very own Junior Embedded Software Engineer Ronald is a leading example! Ronald graduated from Fontys with a bachelor’s degree in computer science two years ago. We are very honoured he decided to start his career at Clay!

Intercultural awareness As part of the 4th semester of software engineering at Fontys, Clay was asked to give a lecture about intercultural awareness. Irem (Marketing Manager, from Turkey), Babet (in-house Recruiter, from The Netherlands) and Vladimir (Front-end developer, from Macedonia), a small multicultural group themselves, travelled from Amsterdam to Eindhoven to speak about the many positive aspects working in close collaboration with several cultures brings.

To be intercultural aware, you need to be mindful of not only your own cultural values as well as the cultural values of others. Every culture has its own code: Beliefs and perceptions differ around the globe. This is what makes it extremely interesting to work in a (small) company where different cultures work together to reach a higher goal!

Many nationalities At Clay we have a mission: Help one million customers with a team of just 30 Bricks. Those Bricks need to be on top of their game. Whether you are from New York or a small town in Norway, everyone is welcome to join us on our mission! As long as they have that Brick-spirit and share the passion for making rocking access control software. This is the reason why we already have ten (!) nationalities in our team of only 22 Bricks (We’re from Macedonia, Croatia, The Netherlands, Turkey, India, Serbia, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Germany).

Being a company that sells their product on a global scale we also stumble upon challenges. Challenges like being in different time zones or colleagues we never met in real life. We'd rather like to look at them as opportunities and positive changes. Research from the British Council shows employers actually value skills that can be acquired by working in an intercultural company. Speaking foreign languages, having respect for others and a natural understanding of several points of view are examples of very valuable skills any (global) company will benefit from.

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Intercultural fun! With a team that consists of many cultures, it can be a challenge working together to reach a goal. At Clay, we’ve noticed it mainly brings joy to our working days. Funny situations like non-Dutchies figuring out how to handle the cheese slider at lunch give our days that extra spark. It makes work feel less like, well, work. On top of that, we become world citizens from the comfort of our office, interacting with different nationalities!

Being intercultural aware all comes down to respect. Try to learn from your foreign colleagues and enjoy the many great values and customs that come with a different culture than your own!

If you ever need your faith in humanity restored after watching the eight o'clock news, remember us: That small Dutch scale up with a team consisting of multiple nationalities that work together as one big happy family!

Are you curious about the way Clay defines that Brick-spirit during the hiring process? Read about it in our previous blog post!

Just graduated or looking for an internship that offers several nationalities in one team? Take a look at our career page for opportunities!