“The shortest path to oneself leads around the world”

Hermann von Keyserling

“The shortest path to oneself leads around the world”

Hermann von Keyserling

Do you work in a multicultural team and sometimes wish communication would run a bit smoother? Do you try hard to convey your message to your colleagues with a different cultural background, but you find that the result sometimes falls short of your expectations?

Good news! You are not the only one who has trouble navigating the cultural maze of a multicultural team. More than a simple inconvenience, miscommunications and misunderstandings cost a lot of time and energy. This may ultimately affect your organization’s bottom line.

So instead of muddling through ‘business as usual’, why not call on someone who is well-versed in working with people with different cultural backgrounds and get to the root of the problem!

My name is Marlies van Exter and I am here to help you improve your intercultural communication.

Through strategic advice, training and coaching, we will work together to achieve a smooth, respectful, effective ánd inclusive communication for your organization.

Work with me


Do you want to learn how to recognize and understand the cultural differences and similarities between you and your colleagues? Would you like to increase the effectiveness of your multicultural team? I’m here to help you.


Coaching is an effective way to continue to develop your “intercultural intelligence”. An essential skill in today’s globalized world. And whereas cultural knowledge can be learned, intercultural intelligence requires practice.


Are you struggling with a cultural dilemma that requires a quick solution? Are you looking for a practical answer to improve intercultural communication within your multicultural team or with your foreign business partners?

Communication strategy

Is it a challenge to find the right tone of voice to reach your culturally diverse audience? Do you find yourself using a one-size fits all approach to communication? Do you ever wonder if your target audience identifies with your communication efforts?


Storytelling. How often have you heard this word lately? Everyone seems to be talking about it, but you – honestly – have no idea what it is exactly. Well, the answer is quite simple: storytelling is the telling of stories. “Really? That’s all it is?”, I can hear you think.


Are you doing business in Brazil and would you like to learn more about the ‘Brazilian way of thinking and communicating’ to ensure your operations runs smoothly? I’m here to help. Doing business in Brazil demands a lot more than just professional skills.

“Marlies is a friendly consultant who listens very well to all parties involved. She asks the right questions, looks for the different perspectives and underlying motives and is persistent. If she is unsure of anything, she will pause at the right time and clarify. An approachable, friendly person and wonderful to work with.”

Sue van der Giessen, Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture & Built Environment


“I learned from Marlies that there is more than one way to get the job done. But, if I had to choose one skill that truly stands out it would be her ability to keep cool, calm and collected under pressure.”

Lucille Holtel, Real Alliance


“I know Marlies as an excellent and open-minded interculturalist. She considers cross cultural communication as an important way to cooperate with diverse people and she is able to understand the complex relationships between cultures. Not only in their habits and customs, but also in business interactions.”

Kirilka Peeva-Müller, Budapest Metropolitan University


“Marlies is a very loyal and energetic person, and she makes sure she get the job done. She has extensive experience with many cultures and has great insight into the human mind.”

Suzette Jansen, Windtown


“Marlies is a born communication professional. In addition, she is authentic, creative, driven and a very pleasant counterpart.”

Bas Kuiper, CBR


“I worked with Marlies during the SIETAR EUROPA 2019 CONGRESS, where she was leading a group of event assistants. She did an incredible job in briefing, assigning roles and supervising all while being an active member of the Congress itself. One could always see Marlies communicating and working all over the place with everyone, all while emitting incredible energy and keeping a beautiful smile on her face. It was honestly a great pleasure being part of a team lead by this extraordinary strong woman.”

Amina Onsy, SIETAR





Exploring the mind: traveling during coronatimes

Exploring the mind: traveling during coronatimes

Some of the most useful lessons I’ve ever learned were taught to me by a dead man. He had passed away some years already before he came into my life, but man, did he come into my life. I still vividly remember the pain I went through during my time as his apprentice. The terribly lengthy boredom. The frustration. The silence… I thought I would never, ever want him as my mentor again, but to tell you the truth… I might be ready for another round!

So, who is this man?

His name is Satya Narayan Goenka. A Burmese-Indian teacher of Vipassana meditation. Vipassana means “seeing things as they really are” and the goal is to purify the mind and eliminate negativities that make us miserable.

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Surinamese adventures: are you experienced?

Surinamese adventures: are you experienced?

(for Dutch please scroll down)
Suriname was one of the first countries that entered my travel bucket list and there were a few reasons for that. First, there was Orlando, my friend’s father, who was born and raised in Suriname. He used to tell us these fantastic childhood memories, that triggered my imagination.

I started to read about Suriname. Books such as ‘The Queen of Paramaribo’, about Maxi Linder, the most famous prostitute of Suriname. Back in her days, she financially took care of the underprivileged. Sadly enough she died as a lonely spinster, in a dirty backroom. I also read all the historical novels of Cynthia McLeod, about the history of Suriname. Dutch colonisation, life at the plantations, slavery.

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Have you ever met someone with whom you immediately had such a strong connection, that you were sure that you had been friends in a previous life? It happened to me about 10 years ago, during a weekend break in São Paulo. He had a smile that blew my socks off, a boyish twinkle in his eyes, a full of life energy, and a mouth that really never (ever!) stopped talking. I was fascinated by him and he was fascinated by me, and that’s how it happened. We became best friends.

We started to hang out together. A lot. Roaming the streets and bars of our home town Rio de Janeiro, drinking and dancing, laughing and joking, discussing life, politics, music, sharing our dreams, our fears, our feelings. We knew everything about each other. At least, I thought we did.

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How did you find me?

By completing this contact form you give me permission to process your data as described in my privacy statement.