Erasmus Plus Trip to Sicily
Our recent Erasmus Plus trip to Sicily was certainly well worth the journey. I found the trip to be a very safe place for us all to discuss and share our ideas. As well as expressing our concerns and resolving some of our challenges as a group, this trip gave us all the opportunity to gel more as a group and also to bring back a lot of new and exciting learning materials. We studied many topics including Motivation, Multiculturalism, Leadership and Professional Challenges, and I would like now to share with you some of the knowledge and resources that I found most interesting during this course.
To begin with, we looked closely at a variety of resources. In particular, I found Power Flower, Bogardus Scale and the Iceberg Concept to be very interesting.
We also got to grips with really understanding the meaning of words we often hear in our line of work such as Multicultural, Cross-cultural and Intercultural. For example:
Multicultural refers to a society that contains several cultural or ethnic groups. People live alongside one another but each cultural group does not necessarily have engaging interactions with each other. For example, in a multicultural neighbourhood people may frequent ethnic grocery stores and restaurants without really interacting with their neighbours from other countries.
Cross-cultural deals with the comparison of different cultures. In cross-cultural communication, differences are understood and acknowledged and can bring about individual change but not collective transformations. In cross-cultural societies, one culture is often considered “the norm” and all other cultures are compared or contrasted to the dominant culture.
Intercultural describes communities in which there is a deep understanding and respect for all cultures. Intercultural communication focuses on the mutual exchange of ideas and cultural norms and the development of deep relationships. In an intercultural society, no one is left unchanged because everyone learns from one another and grows together.
Representing Identity as an Onion
Inter-culturalists have proposed the metaphor of an ‘onion’ to describe cultural phenomenon. No matter what color an onion is on the outside, we are not sure what is inside. Only by peeling off layer by layer can we discover what is at the core. Cultural identity is similar. When we see other people, we may quickly judge them by external factors, but only if we take the time to relate, talk or share deeper experiences do we get to know them.