The number of immigrants in Jesenice, which due to the language and cultural barriers have a hard time integrating into their new environment, has grown in recent years. Therefore, the need for certain activities emerged in the local environment, which on the one hand help us to develop skills and competences for social integration of immigrants in the new environment, and on the other hand improve skills and competences of all the inhabitants for an intercultural dialogue.
Jesenice AEC wants to follow the needs of our environment in this area, so in the context of personnel mobility in the Erasmus + KA1 adult education we implement a project titled “Multiculturalism is our advantage”, in which the professional staff attend structured courses abroad.
In October, I attended the structured course entitled “Intercultural Communication in Education” in Split. 12 participants had the opportunity to look inside themselves and answer the questions: Do I know how to communicate? Am I properly trained for interpersonal and intercultural communication? Am I patient and tolerant? Do I even know what intercultural communication means?
Communication is so widespread in various forms and associated with our lives, that it is often taken for granted. The course of communication in a way often gets our attention only when it’s not successful or the problem emerges in understanding; and these occur even more often in intercultural communication. Cultural, religious and other differences are sometimes difficult to accept, and that is why the intercultural dialogue is so important for mutual respect. People make their views on the basis of experience, past, culture and expectations. There is no correct view in judging others. The work in the field of edult education can be successful only if it is characterized by a multicultural sensitivity and intercultural dialogue, which is why this area is very important for adult educators.
It is not always easy to understand diversity. How come that someone’s way of thinking is different from ours, that he finds other values to be more important, that he puts other things first? There are as many views, opinions, attitudes as there are people, and each has the right and also a duty to respect this diversity.
Diversity is exactly where a source of progress and development of a fairer society is hiding. It opens a new way of thinking, which really contributes to durable solutions. Socializing with various people supports our tolerance. Listening carefully to the others, their opinions, arguments. At the same time, let us pass on our vision to develop and strengthen multiculturalism in others. It is necessary to develop a high confidence in our views and tradition. All persons, who are confident in themselves, will not perceive diversity as a threat.
When communicating with other nations, other cultures, cultural differences, different values and beliefs are not the ones that always cause problems, but sometimes the language is a problem. Language problems in intercultural communication cannot be completely avoided, but we can make sure that the impact on the success of communication is as little as possible. How? We need to use simple language, regardless of who we talk to. Many people try to use “big” words in order to be more intelligent and make an impression, but it makes it more difficult to communicate.
The list of intercultural competence the lecturers, mentors or other workers in adult education have to adhere to, is long. It is important to try and develop them, since different values and lifestyles are of great importance. We can help a lot in establishing open interaction, exchange and mutual interconnection. We’re not all the same, but may be treated equally.
The Erasmus+ K1 is really an excellent opportunity for personal and professional growth of an individual. The mentioned structured course enriched the participants with findings that respecting diversity is the key to success. The participation of professional staff of the Jesenice AEC in structured courses promotes the strengthening of core competencies and the use for identifying and avoiding stereotyping and prejudice in education, as well as the use of methods for strengthening tolerance and intercultural dialogue for the development of intercultural skills.
Read the blog of the professional workers and also highlights from other courses.
Polona Knific (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jesenice Adult Education Centre