Полоцкий государственный университет

Polotsk
State
University

To make students more culturally emphatic was the main goal of the project «Getting to know our world. Practicing cross-cultural communication». Another objective was to apply the knowledge and skills gained during the lectures and seminars of the course “Cross-cultural communication and translation”, the gained linguistic and sociocultural skills being important for successful cross-cultural and cross-language communication. The project also was expected to help know more about other cultures and get the communication skills that impact future professional performance of the students of the program Romance and Germanic Philology (future teachers and translators).

Having got “yes! I will be a kind of ambassador of my country and I will help you with the project!” from my Fulbright friends all over the world, my friends I made in the U.S., the work on the project began.

The students of the second year (there were 32 of them) got randomly the country to study. Their task was 1) to read up about the country, dive into its culture aspects keeping in mind Edward T. Hall's cultural iceberg model; 2) to come up with 5-7 questions they are personally interested in or they found controversial information about; 3) to compose a polite email in English and to communicate with their “ambassador”; 4) to present the results of their research.

know our world 1

know our world 2

The students appeared to be emotionally involved in the work, and they presented the results of their work with deep respect and affection to the culture they studied. The Google Forms feedback showed that for 25% of these students the project was the first interaction with a foreign culture, and 100% believe that a similar project should be done again.

With the feedback received and the exam taken, it is possible to say that the project was a success, as the students were much more motivated and showed deeper understanding of the concepts of the course.

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The project became alive only thanks to the following wonderful people, who kindly agreed to become “ambassadors” of their countries:

  • Boitshepo Balozwi (Botswana, journalist, editor of "HIV Health News and Updates"),
  • Paulo Hadi Manuel (Angola, PhD student at the University of Arkansas),
  • Koji Tanaka (Japan, economist at IBM),
  • Kentaro Omiya (Japan, studies at Rikkyo university),
  • Sittie Aisha (Philippines, studies at the University of Arkansas),
  • Cleeford Pavilus (Haiti, Central Bank of Haiti),
  • Silvija Marnikovic (Montenegro, ESL teacher at the school "Marko Nuculovic"),
  • Waltram Ravelombola (Madagascar, PhD student at the University of Arkansas),
  • Wooseung Khan (South Korea, studies at Kangwon National University; the major being Energy and Resources Engineering), Temuujin Bayaraa (Mongolia, studies at the University of Arkansas),
  • Ian Stone (U.S.A., studies at the University of Arkansas),
  • Sabra Ivey (U.S.A., studies at the University of Arkansas),
  • Taylor Kirby (U.S.A., works for a Christian ministry on university campuses called InterVarsity Christian Fellowship)
  • Tanny Chavez (Ecuador, studies at the University of Arkansas),
  • Fran Rusconi (Argentina, University of Buenos Aires),
  • Nadia Masrur (Indonesia, PhD student at the University of Arkansas),
  • Jesus Moreno (Panama, a PhD student in the Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

know our world 5

know our world 6

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know our world 7

Also the international students at Polotsk State University Aygul Annamova (Turkmenistan) and Aziza Kirimbaeva (Turkmenistan) helped us a lot with the project.

Vera Hembitskaya, senior lecturer at the Department of World Literature and Foreign Languages