Intercultural Competences Went Online – Our Experience

The main objective of our project Building Intercultural Competences: Sharing Good Practices is to support young people and youth organisations. For this purpose we had planned different events for and with young people.

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic came and we all had to cancel any face-to-face meetings. Back in the spring of 2020 we believed that soon the situation should get better. We thought we shall just wait for couple of months to make all activities happen. So, we postponed the events with couple of months… and than with couple of months more… and than we postponed again… From one hand, we believed that only in person, we can have successful events. From the other hand, some of us were a bit afraid to conduct activities online.

At some point however, in November, all partners agreed that we shall try to conduct at least the first piloting session online. We had several weeks of intensive preparation and planning. But in the end it turned out much better than we actually expected (if you are interested, check the publication about it).

So, based on the experience and the positive feedback from the participants, we decided to prepare the local debates online, too (as all countries, involved in the project were still in lock-down). Every partner had the freedom to chose the platforms and tools, for the local meetings. Some of the organisations used GoogleMeet and Microsoft Teams, as their target group (the students) use these platforms for their online learning. Other partners went for Zoom or Skype, as these are the usual means for communication they use anyway. For conducting the online activities and collecting feedback, we also had a variety (and different combinations) of tools, as Menti, Padlet, Jamboard and the good old GoogleForms. In the end, every partner shared their experience, taking into account the feedback from the participants, of course. As a result, we had a series of successful online local debates in Malta, Greece, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Italy and Portugal.

Intercultural Competences Went Online
Intercultural communication went online, too

‘So, which are the best platforms/tools to conduct activities online?’ the reader might ask. Well, each tool has different advantages and areas of improvement. But we found out that the best one is the one you and your audience feels most comfortable with.

Just like with the intercultural communication – there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If one dares to try different approaches, ways of expressions and ideas, s/he can only gain more experience and open their horizons.

We wish you happy experimenting!

BTW, very soon we launching two interactive guides on building intercultural competences, so stay tuned and follow us.

BIC team

Building Intercultural Competences: Local Debate in Portugal

On 4th March the partners from Associação Check-IN – Cooperação e Desenvolvimento have conducted a local debate in Portugal, which was the final event of the series of local events, foreseen in the framework of the project.

School students from 3 classes attended the online event. The event started with a brief presentation about the mobility opportunities for young people in the framework of the Erasmus + programme and the European Solidarity Corps. Ex- and current ESC-volunteers have shared information about their projects and about the experience they have gained in the field of intercultural communication, thanks to their mobility.

Later on, all participants were encouraged to attended a discussion on the importance of intercultural competences, ways to develop them and methods to overcome intercultural shock.

Local debate in Portugal

The organisers would like to thank everyone for the active participation and for the meaningful discussion.

Building Intercultural Competences: Local Debate in Italy

On 25th February “Demostene – Study Centre for the Promotion of Human Flourishing”  has conducted the local debate in Italy in the framework of the project “Building intercultural competencies”.

The event has mainly focused on aspects of the Intercultural communication, as perception of the “others”, stereotypes and mutual understanding. Adelaide Strada, an expert working in different NGOs in the developing countries for more than 10 years, made an interactive and engaging presentation on the topic, sharing her experience and lessons she learned. After her speech, the participants have also shared interesting stories they have experienced when travelling abroad.

Local debate in Italy
Local debate in Italy Building Intercultural Competences

The official page of the event on Facebook (in Italian): https://www.facebook.com/events/468242207917207/

Publication about the local debate in Italy on the official website of Demostene: https://demostenecentrostudi.org/2021/02/23/building-intercultural-competences-dibattito-sulle-competenze-interculturali/

Building Intercultural Competences: Local Debate in North Macedonia

On 15th February Sfera International has conducted the online workshop “Building intercultural competencies”.

The workshop started with an ice breaker, and then continued on to a presentation about the project BIC, the Erasmus + programme, continuing with covering the topics of Intercultural communication, an interactive activity on Cultural shock, continuing with presenting the phases of cultural shock and advises on how to overcome cultural shock. There was a fruitful discussion with all the participants, and we would like to thank everyone who joined our event! Hope to see you on our future events!

Building Intercultural Competences (Local event in North Macedonia)
Building Intercultural Competences (Local event in North Macedonia)

The official page of the event on Facebook (in North Macedonian): https://fb.me/e/HdRHlf7s

The event is part of the project “Building Intercultural Competences: Sharing Good Practices” (Building Intercultural Competences) which is an ERASMUS+ project Strategic Partnership

Building Intercultural Competences: Local Debate in Bulgaria

Many people dream to travel the world or to visit their dream country or city. Many young people are probably planning to apply to study abroad or to get a job in a large international company.

All these opportunities can bring an enriching and wonderful experience for everyone – to see new places, meet new people, new ideas, gain new knowledge, grow in every way. Unfortunately, people are not always prepared enough to take the best of these opportunities. Sometimes they experience a culture shock or just “can’t get along” with the others. Some people manage to overcome these difficulties, others – not really…

Varna University of Management team has hosted a meeting-discussion dedicated to the skills of intercultural communication.

The event took place on 10th February on GoogleMeet and was mainly dedicated to young people who are planning training / internship / work abroad, but so far have not had the opportunity to develop their skills to communicate with other cultures. Two guest speakers have share their experiences and shared practical advice on how to more easily deal with culture shock and more quickly “find common ground” with people having a different cultural background.

The first one, Ventzislava Venkova has a three-year experience as a student abroad. Besides, she knows the process of experiencing and adaptation to a new culture very well from psychological point of view.

Nurhan Fehin has a rich intercultural experience, being part of many international projects, AIESEC alumni and has visited even Japan. Currently he works with international students from all over the world.

After the presentations of the guest lecturers, there was also a space for the participants to share their experiences and advises. What we have remembered for sure – if you go abroad, always double-check the meaning of the words the local teenagers teach you 🙂

Local event in Bulgaria, dedicated to the Intercultural Communication

The official page of the event on Facebook (in Bulgarian): https://fb.me/e/G6QDHz3R

BIC Team

Culture Shock – What It Is and How to Deal with It? (Local Debate in Greece)

On 28th January, our friends from Inter Alia have conducted a very cool local event, dedicated to a very important topic – the cultural shock. It always comes together with the intercultural experience, so knowing it and having the proper tools to overcome it, is very important.

Culture Shock - what it is and how to deal with it?

The organisers have invited very interesting lecturers, having personal experience with this phenomena:

  • Dr. Joanna Simos, Associate Director, Arcadia University Athens and Drew Villierme- Lightfoot Study Abroad Program Manager, Arcadia University, USA
  • Stella Elmatzoglou – Volunteer Programme Coordinator
  • Emna Miled – Junior Project Manager, CESIE and former volunteer at Inter Alia

During this interactive meeting, there was space to share experiences and ask questions about the familiar, the unknown and the changing cultural environment.

After the guests’ inputs, there was time for personal reflections, questions, answers, sharing.

The official page of the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/2506195026353635

Happy New 2021

Dear all,

Our team would like to wish you a very happy and healthy new year and let it bring a lot of amazing intercultural experiences to all of us!

In the upcoming months, we have planned cool local events, which will take place in the countries, represented in the project, so stay tuned and join us!

Happy New Year BIC Project

BIC team

First Piloting Session

In the framework of the project we had planned to organise two piloting sessions, aiming to gather together young people and to discuss and test together techniques and approaches for building intercultural competences. We really wished to these to be held face-to-face, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to adjust.

So, as everyone else – we went online. The event took place on 11th December on Zoom platform. Young people from all countries involved in the project have joined us.

The session began with a brief introduction of the project, its purpose and foreseen activities, followed by an introduction of each participant. Besides the regular things (name, and location), Boyka (the moderator) invited them to share where do they feel really “at home”. We had a lot of interesting inputs and found out that for many of us the perception of “home” can be a place, we are not necessarily born and raised in. And some of us have several homes. Next, the participants were invited to share their thoughts on what intercultural communication mean to them – and we got a very beautiful wordcloud as a result 🙂

BIC First Piloting Session - What Intercultural Communication means to you?
BIC First Piloting Session – What Intercultural Communication means to you?

The next step of the event programme included a brief quiz, so each participants could check how familiar is with the perceptions and traditions in other cultures. It turned out that among the participants there were some experts, but still – we all have learned new for us facts (for instance – in which country 4 is an unlucky number and why)

We had a lot of fun during the First Piloting Session and received a very positive feedback from the participants, and we are really looking forward to the next events.

Stay tuned and join us 🙂

Building Intercultural Competences: Sharing Good Practices (BIC) is supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

The European Commission’s support for the production of this website does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Building Intercultural Competences: Local Debates in Malta

In July 2020 the partners from Cross Culture International Foundation (CCIF Malta) took the opportunity to organise an event for limited number of participants and hosted the first local debate in the framework of the project.

The event was mainly focused on how important intercultural competences nowadays are, as well as how to gain intercultural experience in a safe way and prevent becoming a victim of human trafficking.

Due to the limitations for organising meetings in person, the partners have organised a second local online debate in September in order to reach the desired number of participants.

local debate in Malta
Photo from the first local debate in Malta

Kick-off Meeting in Bitola

Kick-off Meeting in Bitola

We are happy to announce the initiation of our project – Building Intercultural Competences: Sharing Good Practices, funded under Erasmus+ Programme. Varna University of Management, together with 5 youth organisations from Greece, Italy, Malta, North Macedonia and Portugal will explore and share good practices, innovative methods and strategies of dealing with the challenges in multicultural environments for youth organisations and overcoming cultural shock, stereotyping, prejudices, discrimination and stigmatisation through intercultural communication and dialogue among young people. The project Building Intercultural Competences will raise awareness about the importance of intercultural communication and mutual understanding. The project started on 1 September 2019. During the last week, the partners were brought together for the kick-off meeting in Bitola, North Macedonia.

More about us:  facebook.com/BICprojectVUM