Archive for February 23rd, 2010

23
Feb
10

#54 east meets west

054/365 east meets west, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Host and guest – one a Malay Muslim, the other a Finnish Christian. Very different in so many ways, but also so similar deep down. Face-to-face student exchanges teach insights into diversity and difference, but also to what connects us humans deep down, and what we share in common. Sounds a cliché, but is so very true.

Our student exchanges are always home-stay visits. Even a short stay at the home of a local family gives a new perspective to the lives of people in other countries. It helps dismantle stereotypes and promote tolerance and understanding. Our week in Singapore taught us first-hand about diversity in a multi-cultural society, since some students stayed with Chinese, others with Indian and others still with Malay families. Not only were their native languages different, but also their religions, customs, homes reflected their ethnic backgrounds. What an experience for our students from a largely monocultural Finland! In our debriefing sessions after returning home we will try to deepen the lessons learned.

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