Cross Cultural Communication: We are more similar than we are different

→ Me in Mainz at a workshop in the Bundesliga of tutors 🙂

I am thankful for being allowed to participate as tutor in a workshop from Deutsches Studentenwerk about Cross Cultural Communication last weekend. The goal was to improve social and intercultural skills in communication and conflicts. The other participants were amazing and I got a lot of inspiration for my mission in CAH.

But first things first: My tutor colleague Aldo and I left Kiel on Friday morning and travelled by train to Mainz. It took us around 6 hours despite a very comfortable ICE ride. When we reached Mainz, we confidently walked into the wrong direction. Yet, we saw more from the city and I had never been there before… After having checked in into my room with view on the Rhein river, it was time to meet the other 20 international tutors from all over Germany. You could already tell from the vibe at the dinner tables that those were all wonderful, open-minded and funny people!

After eating, we had a nice guided tour through Mainz. As a student of Latin, I was very fascinated by the visible traces the Romans left there. All in all, Mainz is a lovely city!
During our tour it started snowing quite intensively. So we were even happier to sit in a cozy bar afterwards, tasting the local wine 🙂

The next day started with early breakfast and a lot of coffee. Miriam Remy was in charge of the training, a truly competent mentor. We spent the morning getting to know each other. As impulse, I recommend the TED talk by Taiye Salesi: „Don’t ask me where I come from, ask me where I’m a local“ because a nationality doesn’t say enough about the feeling of belonging (rituals, relations, restrictions) for an individual.
The afternoon session flew by while we talked about the trap of ethnocentrism and strategies to improve cross cultural communication. I can feel that I developed myself a lot in that safe space and it helped to work with our personal experiences. As a team we gave each other advice for challenging situations in all kind of intercultural contexts. That also means to not take everything too personal or to look on a problem from more than one perspective.

After dinner, we visited a dormitory and a tutor friend showed us around – it was very interesting to collect few ideas that could be applied for our dorm, too. Especially, the lively discussions enriched that experience.

On sunday we had to check out before breakfast. Afterwards there was more input about how to weaken prejudices: Do you know that a group of people often creates a negative imagine of another group with exactly reversed ideals? That is of course only a (unreflected = stupid) reflection of suppressed fears, but knowing this mechanism might help you to fight prejudices by pointing up that those ideals in a society are also actually not fulfilled.
We exchanged our ideas on another good TED talk from the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: No one carries a single story inside him/her, but many.

Let me finish with another important message for the world: „Only when we mix, we can feel the richness in meeting“ 🙂

Yours, Dori