Different cultural value patterns of teachers and students are frequently responsible for a suboptimal transfer of knowledge. The ability to understand, accept and reconcile these cultural differences is necessary for teachers addressing students with different cultural backgrounds. Having been educated in Dutch, British/Colombian and American schools I have benefitted, and sometimes suffered, from this diversity. With this background I was keenly aware of the intercultural pitfalls and opportunities when I founded an international training institute for risk, crisis and disaster management. In this article, he discusses some of the main cultural differences, using a training provided recently to international search and rescue experts as an illustration.