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Many courses are premised on the assumption that collaboration between academics and students from different national contexts adds value to knowledge production and to learning. It is very rare to come across accounts of how challenging such cross-cultural collaboration can be, especially when the notion ‘culture’ is expanded to include both national and gendered identities, as well as cultures embedded in particular academic disciplines. This paper sets out to explore the ‘critical incidents’ that arose in the context of an Erasmus curriculum development project, showing how these ‘incidents’ open a window onto the complex and challenging processes that come into play in cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary settings.