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  • 1. emanate ISSUE 01 February 2008 The Magazine of the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association Fast Forward! The Rocky Road Photo-Competition The First General To Cultural Images of Assembly of the EMA Understanding Interculturalism Between Cultures Connecting Cultures Through Education
  • 2. Introduction Students and alumni, EMA: here’s your new magazine! An Important Welcome to the first edition of “Emanate” – the new in the Puzzle magazine for students and alumni from Erasmus Mundus programmes. The Emanate team is proud to say that this magazine is almost entirely written and produced by stu- dents and alumni. Since the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA) first had the idea of start- ing a member magazine it’s been a high priority that the I am very happy to introduce this first magazine should focus on the things that students and issue of “Emanate”. This is the evidence alumni care about. And what is a better way to ensure this that the Erasmus Mundus Students and than to invite Erasmus Mundus students and graduates to Alumni Association - EMA for short - write themselves? A big “thanks!” goes to all our contribu- has come a long way in building a strong tors for their efforts! network for its members. Almost all ar- ticles and photos come from students The theme of this issue of Emanate is “between cultures”. and alumni themselves, really making Since studying in other cultures is what Erasmus Mundus this new magazine their own forum. is all about we thought this would be the perfect theme for the first edition. So did other members of EMA – people I am pleased by the fact that this maga- have been very creative in the ways they have interpreted zine and other EMA activities are in line the theme. Find the articles on “between cultures” from with the European Commission’s visions for Erasmus Mun- page 8 – we hope you will enjoy reading them! dus. In the second phase of the programme - which we are about to launch - we try to marry continuity and innovation, On page 22 you will find the first EMA photo competi- seeking at once to promote excellence, the attractiveness of tion. In October last year EMA announced a photo compe- European higher education and inter-university cooperation tition and now you get the chance to help pick the winner! with third country universities. Solidarity and excellence can Have a look at the photos and go to www.em-a.eu, log- live together and positively influence each other. We want in and vote for the one you think should win. Thanks to to honour the „Mundus“ dimension of the programme by everyone who sent in their photos. We are grateful for all grouping, under the Erasmus label, all the European Com- the interest that students and alumni have shown in the mission‘s initiatives linked to the mobility of EU and non-EU competition. graduate students and doctoral candidates worldwide. We chose the name “Emanate” for two reasons. Firstly, One of the main aims of the programme has been to create it includes the name EMA and secondly, “emanate” means strong and long-lasting bonds between Europe and the rest to “send forth” or to “flow”. Together with the website of the world. The establishment of a network of students www.em-a.eu and the EMA Newsletter we would like the and alumni is without doubt an important piece in the puz- magazine to keep information flowing between members zle. From the many contributions students and alumni have of EMA. EMA is a forum for Erasmus Mundus students and made to the magazine it is clear that there is an interest graduates to meet – for networking, for help and for fun. – and a need – for initiatives of this sort. In the production of the magazine at hand we have shared Last year in October the first EMA General Assembly took this vision. We hope that you will enjoy the outcome. place, another example that the association is growing and The Emanate Team The Emanate Team are (from left to right) Rikke Skovgaard Andersen, EMA Magazine Communicator, Denmark | Michael Eshiemokhai, Nigeria | Angela Johnston, Canada | Jasmine Kang, India | Gregor Lichtfuss, Germany | Zachary Rothstein, US | Mario Pardo Segovia, Spain | Valentina Villoria, Venezuela | Luca Zanaica, Italy 2 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 3. Table of Contents Table of Contents Piece News from EMA reaching more and more students and Idealist and Realist: Hanneke Luth, President of EMA ...................................................... 4 alumni from Erasmus Mundus courses. The First General Assembly of the EMA: Fast Forward! .................................................... 5 I was present at this event and had So What Could Be the Next Step? Some advice from the EMA Jobs Team ............... 6 the opportunity to witness the elec- Erasmus Mundus Takes off in China....................................................................................... 7 tion of the association’s first president and steering committee and to talk to Between Cultures students and alumni, who have become ambassadors of the programme in their own countries. It was inspiring to ex- Living in-between - One student’s personal perceptions of culture ............................. 8 perience the enthusiasm of everyone Serendipity in a Multicultural World - Short surprising moments................................ 9 present. Many great ideas were brought Two years of Ambition: Europe in Asian Eyes ...................................................................10 forward at the General Assembly and I Camembert with Chopsticks: The Rocky Road to Cultural Understanding ...............12 look forward to following the progress The Many Shades of Erasmus Mundus ..............................................................................13 of the EMA as the Commission contin- Culture Is an Iceberg .................................................................................................................14 ues to support interesting projects. Oslo to Tampere to Aveiro .......................................................................................................16 The Internationalisation of Higher Education ...................................................................18 The magazine that you now hold in What It Means to Be “Trini” - A new look at the Caribbean .........................................19 your hands, with its articles and photos The Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 .............................................................................20 sent in by people from all continents, is truly a part of Erasmus Mundus life. I Photo Competition wish all readers an enjoyable time div- ing into “Emanate”. The First EMA Photo Competition - Images of Interculturalism ..................................22 Sincerely, Higher Education News A New Round of Erasmus Mundus Begins - An interview with Programme Man- ager Vito Borrelli ........................................................................................................................24 Ján Figel‘ Success Stories Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth Addressing the World - Students deliver their message about Conservation and Mutual Respect to delegates from 172 countries....................................................25 Your Say Steps toward Ending Discrimination in India ....................................................................27 Globalisation in Education ......................................................................................................28 Literacy - More than Reading and Writing .......................................................................30 Working toward Academic and Personal Growth in EUROAQUAE ..............................31 3
  • 4. News from EMA Idealist and Realist: Hanneke Luth, President of EMA By Tyler Henderson, member of the EMA Newsletter Team In October 2007, the first EMA Gen- a lot of freedom and flexibility. But, she eral Assembly elected Hanneke Luth to says, it is also a lot of hard work, “no a two-year term as its first president. doubt about that.“ Hanneke, a 2005 graduate of the Eras- mus Mundus European Master in Law During her first degree programme, and Economics, spent periods of study Hanneke decided to take a year off to at Erasmus University Rotterdam (the live and work in Asia. For six months she Netherlands), the University of Bologna was involved with Jagran, an organisa- (Italy) and Ghent University (Belgium). tion that raises awareness about social While at Erasmus University, Hanneke issues like drugs, dowries, hygiene and (who is Dutch) also spent two months at religious tolerance in New Delhi through the University of California at Berkeley pantomime theatre. She then travelled (USA) during research for her master’s throughout India, Thailand, Laos and thesis. Japan, meeting interesting people and On her experience at three different Eu- seeing amazing architecture, art and ropean universities Hanneke reflected nature. She enjoyed being a tourist, but that, “universities are bureaucratic in- could not outweigh her work experience stitutions, that does not change when in New Delhi. As a European she realised you cross a border. Making a change, she could “never fully be part of Indian Hanneke Luth getting things done fast, all that is dif- culture, but working in the slums was ficult. However, academia is a forum as close as I could come to it.“ Han- where people come together to expand neke feels that her nine months in Asia lot of things will prove difficult. We are a young and very knowledge and skills, discuss, broaden changed both how she sees the world ambitious organisation with little expertise. However, we are their views and meet people. All univer- and its inhabitants and her personal intelligent and highly skilled people, committed to the EMA. sities in Europe perform that function. priorities, making her mature more than The EMA is an organisation with a huge potential, bringing People in academia, especially in Eras- five years at university. together very interesting, intelligent and motivated young mus Mundus, are all opinionated peo- people, determined to fulfil their goals in life and make the ple. They are not easily pushed around. Hanneke has been involved with the EMA work. It’s great to be part of that group. I really am hon- The participants are not superficial; they EMA from the start, serving as commu- oured to be able to represent this organisation, and facilitate all have their views and want to share nicator for the EMA Jobs Team on the its processes. These next years of the EMA are critical. I am them. Spending a year with these in- EMA Launch Committee. She ran for convinced that we can set the EMA off to a good start!“ teresting and stimulating people is the President of the EMA because she saw most amazing thing about doing an Er- that the organisation needed someone In her free time, Hanneke enjoys theatre, a passion of hers asmus Mundus course.“ to chair meetings and keep track of de- since age twelve. Hanneke has acted in, directed and pro- velopments, as well as to have a face duced plays, and helped organise theatre festivals. She likes Hanneke is now a Ph.D. candidate in to serve as representative and contact cycling and once cycled 1800 km from Rotterdam to Huesca, the European Doctorate in Law and Eco- person for the EMA. She felt she could a small Spanish town just south of the Pyrenees. She also nomics, a multiple degree programme be effective in the role because she is a swims regularly, runs and goes spinning. In general, she likes between Erasmus University Rotter- person who focuses on the big picture to undertake new things and explore. She is not interested dam (the Netherlands), the University rather than on details, while still recog- in holiday resorts and says she would prefer to climb Mount of Bologna (Italy) and the University of nising that details are important. Kenya. South America, Australia and New Zealand are next on Hamburg (Germany). Her research fo- her travel wish list. With her vast international experience and cuses on the economic effects of con- Hanneke is both a realist and a dream- ambition to know the world, Erasmus Mundus alumni around sumer protection. Hanneke enjoys being er. About her term as President she says, the globe might be sharing coffee with Hanneke at their fa- a Ph.D. candidate because it allows her “I want to be honest; I am convinced a vourite local café some time soon. 4 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 5. News from EMA The First General Assembly of the EMA: Fast Forward! By Hanneke Luth, President of the EMA On October 12, 2007, in Brussels, a long-anticipated event allow the EMA to make great progress plenary session. Five nominees had ex- took place: the first General Assembly (GA) of the Erasmus in the year to come. pressed their interest in the position by Mundus Students and Alumni Association. The majority of the The members of the GA were also asked responding to a call on the EMA website Erasmus Mundus Masters Courses were represented at the to elect a Steering Committee and Pres- placed on August 1st 2007. GA by current students and alumni from inside and outside ident of the EMA, and to vote on the As a result of these elections, the first Europe. Since June 2006, following the launch of the EMA, Statute that has been developed over Steering Committee of the EMA is about 27 people have been working hard at helping the EMA the last year. After distributing the Stat- now composed of: grow and develop. Several initiatives have been set up that ute in hard copy so that everyone was • Jennifer Lenhart, Promotion promote the interests of all EM students and alumni. While able to read it, there were several criti- • Sandra Oberhollenzer, Jobs more needs to be done and perfected, all EMA members agree: cisms of the content. The Steering Com- • Chunyu Liang, Conferences the EMA has great potential. mittee agreed to take all criticism into • Rikke Skovgaard Andersen, Magazine As designated by the Statute, the GA represents the parlia- account when proposing changes and • Ross Zhongliang Hu, Newsletter mentary power over the EMA; it is the most important organ amendments to the Statute in the next • Matthias Herkt, Policy of the EMA. At the GA, which is to be held yearly, representa- GA, with the help of the Policy Team. • Taghi Paksima, IT tives of EM courses can express their opinions, criticism and After that, the Statute was adopted by a • Hanneke Luth, President approval, vote, elect, change and add to policy. The represent- large majority. The Steering Committee wishes to ex- atives that formed this year’s GA took this responsibility seri- The Steering Committee is composed press their gratitude to all GA members. ously. Contributing to lively discussions and expressing their of seven Team Coordinators and a Representatives that are so eager and opinions, both positive and negative, the GA members pro- President. The Team Coordinators were enthusiastic, actively working together vided important insights on improving the EMA. And as deeds elected by the respective teams in team to promote the interests of all students speak louder than words, most of the GA representatives also parallel sessions. Every active team and alumni of EM, hold a great promise decided to play an even more active role in the advancement member could participate in the elec- for the future! of the EMA by joining a Service Team. The EMA Service Teams tions as either a nominee or voter. The EMA, fast forward! now consist of over 80 active members, a number that will presidential elections took place in a 5
  • 6. News from EMA So What Could Be the Next Step? Some advice from the EMA Jobs Team By Sandra Oberhollenzer, Jobs Team Communicator Getting what you want 3. Remember, we live in a culturally di- verse place: The way in which a cov- Taking the first step to find your dream er letter, resume or similar is written job, internship, PhD or other position varies from country to country. Talk can seem daunting without a little to a local about what is considered The EMA Jobs Team is guidance: Here are some hints to help standard information and format here to provide the means you out! (or even better, ask for an example!) before completing your application. to increasing education And remember that not all countries 1. Use resources available at your uni- will be happy with (or even accept) and employment opportu- versity: Career advisers at your uni- an application written in English. versity are able to give invaluable nities worldwide to EMA information to you - from how to Helping you look act in an interview to the when and members and expand where of career fairs within your For a step in the right direction, check field or even contacts in the place out the “Helping you look” section on knowledge within indus- you wish to apply to and more. the EMA website”s Jobs section at: try and higher education www.em-a.eu/job-vacancies-and-phd- scholarships.html . institutes about EMA. 2. Apply specifically for the position: Remember that three well-written The EMA Jobs Team is also interested We are not a recruitment job-specific applications is worth in how you feel we could help you as more than 100 photo copies. Im- an EMA member. If you have any com- agency, but we can help in portant things to remember are to ments, information or opportunities research the company or research available that you would be of interest other ways. institute you are applying for: show to EMA members with respect to em- that you are interested in what they ployment or further studies placements are doing and give specific exam- please contact us at: ples. jobs@em-a.eu. 6 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 7. News from EMA Erasmus Mundus Takes off in China Chinese EM alumni promote the programme in Beijing / First EMA regional chapter successfully launched By Sebastian Popp, ICUnet.AG, EMA Service Provider The Europe Higher Education Fair (EHEF) in Beijing, October 20th-21st, received valuable first-hand support: Chinese EMA members actively partici- pated in the exhibition and helped to promote Erasmus Mundus. The two-day Beijing Europe Higher Edu- cation Fair was held as a special guest event of the China Education Expo at the International Trade Exhibit Centre in China‘s capital. An initiative of the Eu- ropean Union, the event was carried out by a consortium composed of Campus- France, DAAD, Nuffic and British Council. More than 150 European universities and several national institutions and agencies presented themselves at the EHEF. Fifteen EMA members from China par- ticipated in the fair, assisting the Euro- pean Commission in promoting Erasmus Mundus. They shared their experiences studying in Europe with fair visitors (prospective students and parents) and answered questions directed at students at the Commission‘s Erasmus Mundus presentations. Chinese EM alumni and representa- tives of the European Commission’s Executive Agency, who took part in Moreover, the EMA, its structure and The EMA regional event was held on October 21st in Beijing the Beijing event. its objectives were introduced to pro- with a get-together and a banquet dinner. 19 Erasmus Mun- spective students in a presentation dus alumni and representatives of the European Commission‘s and EMA promotion materials were Executive Agency joined the meeting which saw the founda- distributed among fair visitors. The ap- tion of the EMA Chinese Chapter. proach to supporting Higher Education The new institution wants to provide a platform for network- promotional activities by letting alumni ing among Chinese Erasmus Mundus alumni under the um- present their experiences turned out brella of EMA. In the meeting, different tasks working toward to be a promising model that might be this goal were assigned among the participants. successfully applied in future activities. The establishment of the Chinese Chapter marks an important Coinciding with the Beijing EHEF, EMA step in the development of the association and is likely to established its Chinese Chapter thus serve as a successful example for future regional EMA institu- founding the first regional institution tions. Participants agreed that regional events will bring sub- under the umbrella of EMA. stantial benefits to the entire EMA community. 7
  • 8. Between Cultures Between Cultures: Living in-between One student’s personal perceptions of culture Despite the broad popularity of the word culture and the endless list of en- tries in any number of dictionaries and encyclopaedias, it is still difficult to de- fine such a ubiquitous and all-inclusive phenomenon precisely. I am not going to go into detail and ponder on culture as such. We can easily take any of the tons of books grappling with the ques- tion and find thousands of answers and we will still have no fewer questions. I would rather share my personal percep- tions of culture and how these percep- tions change, if ever, when I encounter other cultures. What does culture mean, how does it influence us and is there a way out of the in-between cultural space? First of all, only through the encounter Yuliya Yurchuk enjoys in the experience of moving “in-between“ cultures dur- with a new culture do I become aware other countries I have been able to see the difference on a ing her Erasmus Mundus experience. of the culture as a whole. I can even multilevel scale. But I do not face only differences, I also find feel the culture, I can hear its dialect, I many similarities. While communicating with my friends from can see its hues and I can taste its dif- Poland, India or Germany I can see that we share more com- ference. An abstract notion of culture mon interests and common views than I have with my fellow takes a palpable shape with distinctive countrymen. A distanced view of my own country allows me features and characters. Some of them to see some of the problems in my country from a different are so alluring that I want to make them standpoint and to shape a new unbiased opinion, however my own. Sometimes I do so, through difficult this had seemed before. I can add that after becoming aware of learning a language, through reading your feet you cannot pretend you do not the literature, through friendships with No doubt, new cultures influence your identity and change have them. In building your patchwork people I care about. In this way I create your personality. You never stay the same after encountering identity in a rapidly changing world you my own space in a new culture. The new new cultures; this always brings new experiences, positive or will also change. Once you start you culture becomes partly mine. In some not. The fact remains the same: you change. You are con- will never quit. It seems impossible to cultures my “space” is large, in others stantly moving to the space in-between, where you belong come back from the in-between space. it is very moderate, but still it is there. to several cultures simultaneously. The mobility between cul- You will be craving more rags for your Everything depends on communicative tures becomes your life-style. Your identity transforms into patchwork. The end result is never clear, and cultural skills and a feeling of per- a “collage of fragments” as Richard Sennett called it or into but the game is still worth playing. sonal attachment to the culture. a “patchwork”, putting it in Heiner Keupp’s words. It is thus Secondly, encountering a new culture no surprise that after living in foreign countries and experi- gives you a perfect perspective for encing new cultures you feel lonely and misunderstood upon viewing both your “own innate” culture returning home, where only a few people can share the same About the author: and the “other” one. While living in my experience with you. You will surely need time to reintegrate. Yuliya Yurchuk is a student of EURO- homeland (the Ukraine) I perceived my After living between cultures or rather living with/in cultures, CULTURE at the University of Gottingen, difference on the individual level only. I can agree with Flemming Christensen, who wrote that in our Germany and the University of Deusto, While travelling, studying and living in postmodern society we do not have roots, we have feet. And Spain. 8 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 9. Between Cultures Serendipity in a Multicultural World Short surprising moments during my years in Erasmus Mundus Berlin – Treptower Park – May 2007 – Green, graffiti, the Berlin – Students‘ residence kitchen – September 2007 – Spree river, boat-houses, many, very many trees, a forest with- the daily ritual of having tea among friends: Mexican, Bolivi- in the city. There is a band playing in a clearing between the an, Iranian and Indian. Today, I informally interview an Iranian bushes, the sun comes and goes; they are playing saxophones, guy. How do they feel about war? Is it possible to go to Iran trumpets, and percussion to a rhythm that my body follows as a tourist? Is Teheran dangerous? Can he tell me some use- and that brings me to Istanbul, where I have never been. And ful words in Persian? How do people flirt?… My former vision while they play and I listen to three roasting pigs endlessly of Iran: war; my present vision: interesting people, ancient spinning over a grill in front of the scene. culture, rich folklore, beautiful landscape. The Middle East is veeery far away from Mexico and my hometown… well… on Córdoba – Valderrama 12 – June 2006 – How can I take the other hand, Guantanamo is not that far. with me the emotions triggered by a walk in the mosque, the omnipresent smell of jasmine and orange blossom in May, the Europe – train – some days between 2005 – 2007 – I bor- flamenco mood from a worker song or from inside a house row the childhood memories of two of my very good friends, or from the clock of the main square?… labyrinthine and ul- Nury and Marga. Children drawing their surroundings. One, tra narrow streets filled with the traffic of dogs, people, cars, Chilean, draws a little house with the mountain range behind baby trolleys, bicycles, wheelchairs, and a couple of other it, trees, a river, and a happy smiling girl. The other one, Span- types of vehicles. ish, Andalusian to be specific, draws thousands of green dots The murmur of people speaking at midnight, having olives and (olive trees) and a happy smiling girl. Myself, Mexican, from beer, still leaves room to remember the history of three cul- Mexico City, draw a couple of mountains linked by a rainbow, tures living at the same time in the same place, a cathedral a car, a dog, a little house and a happy smiling girl. inside the mosque in the Jewish neighbourhood. The Roman bridge crossing the waters of Guadalquivir river and the walls I have found many surprises in a serendipitous way, without of the ancient medina remain the same. expecting to: a Bulgarian who is a master of salsa dancing, the endless differences in Spanish among Spanish-speak- Rabat – Random tea place – December 2005 – Jumping ing countries, the rapid and usual solidarity among cultural from Europe to Africa is a big jump. It is December; Europe is groups (Indians, Chinese, Latins, etc)…. and so on. An exciting lit up, Christmas trees, sales!, Christmas songs, presents!, and trip among cultures, and a corroboration of a legend clandes- Christmas postcards going home; Santa Claus is coming to tinely written on a library desk: ignorance is cured by reading, town, one can feel it… Arrival in Morocco: no special lights, intolerance is cured by travelling. no Christmas trees, no Christmas at all. The call to prayer. A lesson for a Westerner: do not think that the Christmas spirit invades the whole world in December; actually an increasing population does not care about it. About the author: Adi Estela Lazos Ruíz is an alumna of International Master of Sci- ence in Rural Development (IMRD) and will start her PhD in Spain and Mexico in January 2008. 9
  • 10. Between Cultures Two Years of Ambition: Europe in Asian Eyes A journey of a mountain girl from the rocky roads of the Himalayas to the Alps of Austria Barajas Airport, Madrid: The Gateway to La Vida Loca. Sweet Symphony. The formative years. October 26, 2007. Vienna, Austria. Ktm, Nepal. The October sky was low and forbid- She was a typical tropical child who ding, an expressionless grey with not grew up in the late eighties and early the slightest variation in colour. She nineties in the dusty roads, disorderly headed towards the Heldenplatz to ob- streets and dimly lit homes of a third serve Austria‘s national day celebration, world country. She ate mangos in sum- the day in history when the last foreign mer and savoured the citruses in win- soldier left the country. The first drop of ter and grooved to the beat of Michael rain hit her face. She shivered a bit in Jackson. A typical nineties teen, she hid the cold, damp, wind. There were many her emotions, never expressed her feel- people waiting for the train at the sta- ings and cried in the bathroom. She tion; few did anything but look down satisfied her curiosity with the “tell me the curve in the track, anxious to hear why” series of books since there were no the sound of steel wheels screeching to inexpensive personal computers or lap- take them to their destinations. tops, no internet, no mighty Google and Amidst the big crowd and the drizzle the know-it-all wikipedia. The window the orchestra played a Beethoven sym- to the world was provided by either the phony. Once the ceremony was over, she low-priced books, cable television which escaped to the nearby park overlooking broadcast many international channels, the house of parliament, sat on a bench, or slow dialup connections. But if one stared at the dull Viennese sky and soft- had a mind and was willing to use it, ly smiled to herself thinking “welcome no obstacle could dampen one‘s enthu- to the country of ‘The Sound of Music’.” siasm. She nurtured ambitions, most of It was her second year as an Erasmus which were realised. Things happened by student at the Technical University of design as well as by default and finally Vienna and the city was going to be her there she was, a noisy bubble, swim- home for another year. ming in the sea of knowledge. Thanks to the ERASMUS MUNDUS programme. 10 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 11. Between Cultures Living La Vida Loca. Madrid, Spain, 2006. The aircraft touched down on the run- way of Barajas airport and slowly turned lifeless. The captain made his final an- nouncement as she began her journey to the land of “living la vida loca.” At the first flat party her jet black hair, brown complexion, tanned body and strange features raised many eyebrows, most of the European Erasmuses being oblivious of the ERASMUS MUNDUS programme. Do you have universities in your coun- try? “Do you have Internet access?” She was bombarded with questions the students genuinely wanted answers to. Some even asked her if they had Yeti in the neighbourhood or if yak was the only mode of transportation. Europe is one continent but every coun- try in it is so very different, something she realised living with different circles of friends. Distance from home was a From her homeland in the distant Himalayas, Prerana Dahal Sharma brought her own special contribution to shimmering rainbow to her where she the cultural mix of Erasmus students in Europe. did not have to meet any curfews. With a newly-found freedom amidst people from the different corners of the world, she learned to communicate, to get real with them, to set boundaries, to make requests and to ask for things and to They explained the reason voluntarily and all of them would About the author: listen to what people really wanted. try to come to a scientific conclusion, focusing on why it is Prerana Dahal Sharma is a second year Slowly, she started seeing people as so rather than who made it so. Young people have always student of European Masters Programme human beings irrespective of their hair played a key role in social reforms and transformation. They in Computational Logic (EMPCL) at the colour, the shape of their eyes and their all believed in different creeds and belonged to different com- Technical University of Vienna, Austria. accents. She partied till the early hours munities, religion hovering behind them, but nobody felt the of the morning and attended the morn- need to be cowed, or converted, or condemned or killed. They ing lessons. Then one fine summer day sat right next to each other, standing shoulder to shoulder, a she bid farewell to Spain‘s sun and living most unlikely bunch of people united by the single thread of la vida loca and headed for the country their interest in their studies and working collectively for the of “The Sound of Music.” dream of a common life together. They had a vision of a new world: a world of one universal religion, humanity and intense interaction. They shared views, discussed ideas and tried to develop a mutually enriching culture rather than a mutually Romance with the exclusive one. Erasmus Religion. This is not just her story; each Erasmus Mundus student has a story of a generation of young people standing at the cross- In her first year, the group she ate lunch roads of inheritance and a divided world, trying to look both with included an eclectic mix of Jews, ways at once, and finding the strong connection in a sense Christians, Orthodox, Moslems, Chi- of inner coherence. In the period of two years, they not only nese and Hindus, most of them from have the opportunity to understand people they previously religiously volatile parts of the world, considered as aliens but they also get a crash course taught all of them devout to a degree in their outside the university that breeds a new brand of ambas- respective religions. More often than sadors as citizens of the world instead of the foot soldiers of not, one of them would announce that one country. Buddha may have chosen the path of solitude to he was fasting, or he could not eat a reach enlightenment but in modern day interaction and har- certain food prepared in a certain way, monious intermingling definitely awakes the Buddha inside or any food at all, for a period of time. each of us. 11
  • 12. Between Cultures Camembert with Chopsticks: The Rocky Road to Cultural Understanding How three different cultures forge common goals What did we expect from this Erasmus started on time, but different students arrived at different The three of us come from three com- Mundus programme? We certainly all times. For some this was normal, for others it was disrespect- pletely different ethnic and cultural had our own ideas. However, most of ful. We even had a debate about banning the entrance to class backgrounds: China, France and Peru. us got lots more than we bargained for. after 10 minutes. This however did not lead to any concrete We got through our first year of ad- This article addresses both the expecta- result due to “cultural differences”. The expression “cultural aptation and are now hopefully better tions we had before starting the course differences” highlights a very important lesson we learnt in equipped for making the second year a less shocking and more easy-going and the experiences we lived and learned the first year: how to adapt to a new culture. At the begin- experience. But coping with a new en- through. Both aspects have great rele- vironment, a new city, new people and vance for both our personal and profes- new courses still remains a challenge. In sional future in public health. our case it could be a help that we have already spent time together and learned We all knew it was not going to be easy to accept the fact that each of us is studying in a different language, but different, so the process of adapting in perhaps we did not expect that inter- the second year has not been so tough. acting with our classmates would be The fact that we are living in France potentially more energy-consuming and that one of us is French has helped than reading Foucault or Berger. We the other two to better and more eas- spent the first year in Sheffield, England ily understand the culture, but on the in a course of approximately 60 people other hand it has also been a process for and around 25 nationalities from Eu- the French student of readapting to her rope, Asia, Africa, the Americas and the own culture after spending almost 18 Caribbean. Sharing a classroom with all months abroad. Sharing our differences these students turned out to be both and explaining them to each other has a very fruitful and a fairly traumatic become a valuable way of learning from adventure. Trying to understand differ- each other, which we do not look on ent accents, the way others formulate negatively but rather enjoy. One activ- questions and perform debates about Elsa Dufay, César Eduardo Wong Alcázar, and Ying Wu experienced first-hand both the challenges and enrichments ity we enjoy doing is cooking and eat- social and cultural aspects can be quite of intercultural collaboration. ing together. This can lead to interesting disconcerting at the beginning. Step by novelties: using chopsticks to eat cam- step, we learned that there is no ideal or embert (a typical French cheese) could unique answer to some issues; it might become an interesting way of spending be possible in mathematics, where two an evening! While we eat we learn and plus two equals four in every corner of ning we needed to “deal” with other students and with be- talk about our differences and home the world, but a child or woman‘s status ing surprised about their clothes, their way of speaking and cultures. We learn something new every in Nigeria might not necessarily be the pronunciation, the way they said hello and introduced them- day. “Cultural differences” still exist, but same in Korea. selves. After one year of obtaining “cultural skills”, two groups we have been much better at taking of Europubhealth (Sheffield and Granada) came together and them on board this time. There are numerous anecdotes to illus- took part in an integrative module for one month in Krakow. The question is how we can take advan- trate this general point, but let‘s look Here we worked and lived together and managed to get along tage of what we have lived through and at the question of punctuality. Classes well with each other. 12 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 13. Between Cultures The Many Shades of Erasmus Mundus An opportunity for many unique life-lessons Having spent a year in the Erasmus Mundus programme I would say that Erasmus Mundus has several meanings for me. As a student from a devel- oping country, I would give the following answers to the question “what is Erasmus Mundus?”: experienced and how we should apply it in our future private and professional lives. Firstly in the personal area, we have learnt to be more open and not judge other people‘s actions A group of Masters courses, which the Euro, in most countries of the and behaviour too quickly. We need to accept others the way cut across various disciplines rang- European Union. they are, and not be too eager to change them so that they ing from engineering and sciences think like us or believe in what we believe. While working in to humanities and arts. A time to learn just a bit more public health even in our own countries, we will need to come about banking terms involved in the to terms with different groups and their needs. We need to A chance to study and live in at transfer of money across countries, understand populations and communities, and it is vital to least two different countries in Eu- such as the SWIFT and IBAN codes. take into consideration their beliefs, needs and expectations rope. whenever we implement or design a project. Over and above A time to learn a little bit more the valuable academic and professional input from course A chance to gain an international about shipping services and logistic work and lectures this is perhaps one of the most crucial in- degree as well as skills and knowl- firms that ship luggage around Eu- sights we can take home with us from Europubhealth. edge which propel one to greater rope. heights career-wise. After all we have been through, it may sound easy and may A time to gain exposure and seem that from now on we could live, work and adapt easily to A chance to meet and interact broaden your way of thinking. any new situation, but in fact this is not the case. Yes, we have with peers from diverse backgrounds become better and more easy-going people in many respects, and cultures. A chance to hear from And certainly a time to make but cultural adaptation is a never-ending process. Neverthe- „the horse‘s mouth” about other friends! Friendships that cut across less we can say that the more one is exposed to other cultures, countries you have formerly only the bounds of nationality, language, the easier it seems to become to adapt to them. So we would read or heard about. ethnicity and religion. recommend you all to take advantage of all situations where you may learn from others. Open your minds and learn even A chance to enhance interper- I have no doubt that several other the smallest thing from your classmates and colleagues. You sonal skills. Erasmus Mundus students would will not be surprised anymore if one day you end up having have one or more items to add to dinner sitting on the floor with your legs crossed, eating with A chance to visit popular cities in the list above because we have all your hands while watching a bunch of “giant human apes” in Europe. had diverse experiences. And the list a strange pile fighting over an oval shaped object and being goes on and on ….. cheered for it (Rugby World Cup, 2007). Just enjoy it. A chance to learn at least two foreign languages, and observe new customs and cultures. A time to commit at least one About the author: faux pas. Ifeoma Uwadia is a student of Eu- About the authors: ropean Master in Informatics (EuMI) A time to be most grateful that Elsa Dufay, César Eduardo Wong Alcázar at the RWTH Aachen University, Ger- there is a single currency, namely and Ying Wu are second year students many. of European Public Health Master at the University of Rennes 1, France. 13
  • 14. Between Cultures Culture Is an Iceberg Do we need special competence in dealing with different cultures for an Erasmus Mundus programme to be successful? Being in an Erasmus Mundus pro- of intercultural sensitivity, which means Erasmus Mundus and intercultural issues gramme is certainly a valuable op- we are aware of differences and are able portunity for learning and growth. The to cope with them without hurting oth- mobility that the programme provides is er people‘s (or even our own) feelings. Although more than 70% of the students surveyed confirmed one of its most important characteris- There are also different levels of inter- that they became integrated in the local setting, there are tics. Students gain educational experi- cultural sensitivity that signify the way, also cases where periods of stay in a country produce negative ence in different countries with differ- in which we see our cultural profile in feelings. The reasons for this vary. Some universities offer op- ing teaching and learning traditions and relation to the ones we are faced with. portunities to learn about the other student‘s culture, to get also live in culturally diverse settings. According to Milton Bennett, these to know the local people and enjoy the difference. But some In a student survey mobility was also perceptions range from ethnocentric are lacking in this area. Another reason could be that in some rated as highly important academically. dispositions (where one, usually one‘s cases Erasmus Mundus students move through a high number The students of Erasmus Mundus have own, culture is perceived as superior) to of countries with not enough time to learn to appreciate the the opportunity to work in intercultural ethnorelative ones with integration be- local cultures, lacking the competence to do so. And overall environments. However, having to both ing the highest level (meaning that one satisfaction with a particular location also influences the aca- work and live in diverse contexts can is able to understand and incorporate demic success of the programme. also be a challenge. In order to take full different cultural behaviour patterns). advantage of the situation, intercultural Secondly, it is important to recognise There may also be problems working with such diversity. Al- competence is both a prerequisite and a the intercultural learning potential this though most students have had experience working in in- quality that can be improved while in an diversity provides. Knowledge and skills ternational teams, there may still be misunderstandings and Erasmus Mundus programme. could be present in the different cul- challenges. This is especially due to the “iceberg” nature of tural domains of the diverse people and culture, meaning many elements are actually hidden under the societal structures we encounter. surface. It is extremely important to create a learning com- What do we mean by Students of an Erasmus Mundus pro- munity within the programme, so that no one is left out. And gramme are exposed to intercultural here we are not talking merely about being culturally sensi- intercultural competence? domains in two respects. Firstly, they tive and being able to work together, but about being able to live in at least two countries during the foster intercultural learning. The diversity of fellow students programme and thus are placed in a cul- The concept has gained importance es- can be a great resource for learning and seeing things from a turally different context 24 hours a day. pecially lately as changes in societies different perspective as well as a great joy. Secondly, their colleagues come from undergoing a process of globalization, In these ways the concept of intercultural competence is of various parts of the world with differ- bring increasing diversity with possible key importance for the success of an Erasmus Mundus pro- ent life biographies and work and study culture clashes (not only of national cul- gramme. Not only can it minimise negative experiences while backgrounds. The experience is valuable tures). In various new policy documents living abroad and studying on intercultural teams, but also and inspiring. However, problems might intercultural competence is deemed a can help recognise the intercultural learning possibilities and arise in both areas. Integration might necessary component for life and work fully realise the potential of the programme and our experi- pose a problem for students living in a in a new and ever-changing society. In- ence. The intercultural competence that can develop within foreign country. tercultural competence consists firstly Erasmus Mundus is also a key characteristic needed both for 14 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 15. Between Cultures working life in the labour market and for knowing how to behave in a new cul- ture. But it must be stated that merely putting people from different countries together in a foreign classroom is not automatically going to produce inter- cultural competence. The curriculum designers and the participating univer- sities need to focus specifically on this issue. Ideally universities should offer trainings in intercultural competence to Erasmus Students as well as offer other opportunities to get to know the new cultures, integrate (both with the local setting and within the class) and reflect on their experience. This element should be taken into account for the new pro- gramme applications as well as evalua- tion of the existing ones. Most impor- tantly, we should reflect on our feelings and behaviours during the whole of our stay in an Erasmus Mundus programme and look for ways to make it truly a life- changing and learning adventure. Culture can be compared to an iceberg, as many of its impor- tant elements, like values, beliefs and habits are hidden under the surface. About the author: Dane Lukic is a student of European Master in Lifelong Learning at the Uni- versity of Deusto, Spain. 15
  • 16. Between Cultures Oslo to Tampere to Aveiro „You’re never too old to quit your job and enjoy a two-year all-expense paid cultural education.” I quit my job, sold my X-terra, rented ment. But there is pure goodness to my town home, and loaned my cat to Oslo, as it sits right on the water and a friend for 2 years. I said goodbye to has a good amount of forest that sur- my dear friends, my family, and my tele- rounds the heart of the city. Norwe- skies. I packed two suitcases and just gians value their time in the forest, as like that, I was off. I had embarked on a the trails become super-highways on journey that would fulfil my deep-root- the weekends. Families are seen pic- ed desire to live in another country. nicking, picking berries and mushrooms, After working for 10 years as an Admin- all the while just enjoying the company istrator at the University of Colorado of one another. The Norwegians believe at Boulder it was time to go back to that everyone deserves a break from school. Sure, there was always the op- work, so all stores are closed on Sun- tion to continue working and complete day; equal rights prevail in this socialist my master‘s part-time but I decided country. There workdays are short and it was time to be a full-time student the maternity leave long (1 year, paid!) again. I was accepted to four U.S. pro- In my opinion, Norwegians know how to grams but my dream offer came via live a family-filled, stress-free life. e-mail one afternoon, “You have been You would think that Oslo and Tampere, Some of Leasa‘s fellow Erasmus Mundus students. chosen as an Erasmus Mundus scholar Finland would be analogous because for the European Masters Programme in they are both Scandinavian countries, Higher Education.” After reading the e- my new life with ease: living abroad, studying, and learning but I discovered many differences be- mail about three times, I performed the to balance my studies with travels. But in this programme, tween the two. Tampere is not only a classic “Leasa happy dance.” you do not have to travel to have an international experience. winter sports playground with cold-wa- This two-year joint degree master‘s pro- Living in a student village with other international students ter swimming, ice-skating, cross-coun- gram, European Higher Education Mas- affords you many life-lessons (as well as flashbacks from my try skiing, but it is also the sauna Mecca ters Program (HEEM) is very unique, as college years). The dinner table is not only a smorgasbord of the world. There are more saunas it travels to three different universities of international cuisine but it also serves as a classroom as than cars in Finland and a quick dip in in Europe: the University of Oslo, Nor- we discuss everything from religion to food to politics. Luck- the frozen lake is a must for anyone who way; the University of Tampere, Finland; ily (or unluckily) for me, with the current U.S. foreign affairs, is crazy enough to live in –30ºC weather and the University of Aveiro, Portugal. I have also experienced a fair share of anti-American senti- with only 6 hours of daylight. The Finns This means I get to live in not only one ment, which has been an education all in itself. I have come are friendly, yet shy and reserved, give international city, but three. In the last to learn more about my country through the eyes of others, them some vodka and they will dance semester our cohort class, which repre- than what I knew living there for 32 years. the night away. One thing that stood sents 14 different countries, will split out for me was how all meals are sit- off to write our individual theses in dif- down meals and if you are seen eating I have also enjoyed getting to know the European cities ferent cities around the globe. while on the run, you are a bit of a spec- where I have lived: Oslo is known as, “The Most Expensive The first semester I quickly settled into tacle. But be prepared to eat early, as City in the World,” and there is nothing false about this state- 16 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 17. Leasa’s fellow-students’ international backgrounds provided many lessons outside the classroom. About the author: Leasa Marie Weimer is a student of Eu- ropean Master in Higher Education at the University of Aveiro, Portugal. lunch is served at 11 a.m. and dinner at 5 p.m., and you might find Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer on your plate. In my view, the Finns are simple people, living a cold (and sometimes very “ah-ha moments” are happening in Impressions: hot) simple life. my flat at the dinner table. I have a www.leasa.blogspot.com group of flat-mates that aren‘t afraid Our last semester before thesis-writing is in Aveiro, Portu- to speak their mind and voice their gal; which is the epitome of a quaint European town. From opinion on Bush; how the west- August 12, 2006 the first day I arrived in Aveiro, I loved it! From the nar- ern world has stripped culture from row cobblestone streets, to the plethora of good (and cheap) After 40 hours of trains, planes, layo- many countries, how American poli- wine, to the quaint canals with traditional Portuguese fishing vers, police walking around with ma- tics is based on money and just how boats, I had come to the quintessence of a charming European chine guns, missing my flights, secu- much they think American domina- town. The Portuguese language is manageable and necessary rity lines and subways I have finally tion sucks. in this small town, the food is delectable, and the cafes are on arrived safe and sound in Oslo. Home August 29, 2006 every corner. You do not need to take public transportation, sweet home?! as everything is in walking distance. In Aveiro, the Portuguese Now off to study...we have 600 pages August 25, 2006 people are full of life and enjoy the little luxuries of life; like a of reading to do in about one week good bottle of Port wine and a delicious baccahlau (cod fish). Try saying this one; it‘s a mouth full... and a 10 page paper to write. Ahhhh, So, my days are no longer filled with committee meetings, Forskningsparken. It‘s a subway stop the joys of being a student again! budget reports, or advising students. Instead, I am a student: near campus. I love the Norwegian November 28, 2006 a student of the globe, a student of life. It has been a blessing! language! As for where this takes my career, time will tell, but I know for I just received my VISA for Finland!! August 28, 2006 sure whatever is next will have an international perspective to Norway, Finland, and Portugal…Oh, it. When you have experienced the depths of an international American BASHING! the life of an Erasmus Mundus stu- life, it is too dull to go back and live a traditional American Forget the classroom...many of my dent scholar…I love it!! lifestyle complete with eating on the run and working on Sun- days. 17
  • 18. Between Cultures The Internationalisation of Higher Education EM’s role in creating knowledge-based economies Higher education and research have courses between countries, and to International students seeking been the focus of tremendous interest move between them (leading to sim- education abroad in the last decades and this interest is ilar initiatives on a smaller scale in expected to continue. The US is still the Asia and Latin America). (in millions) forerunner, attracting a large portion of • The changing demand for knowledge the international students. Competition in a fast paced and global social and 7.2 to attract the “the best and the bright- economic environment, creating (projected) est” students is increasing, and many a phenomenon called “knowledge 2.5 1.8 European institutions have become ma- based economies” (KBE). jor players with the aim of creating a • Internationalisation and trade in 2001 2004 2025 knowledge-base. higher education. Europe hosted 44 % (1.1 million) in- ternational students in 2004, with the Furthermore, there are few general UK (12%), Germany (11%), and France consequences as a result of the above: (10%) contributing the major portion, after the US (23%). 1. Increased mobility of The answer to the second question is obvious: the stakehold- skilled workers. ers are the EU, international students, large corporations and This trend towards international study 2. The expansion of international col- their stake holders, and the future market and market based (see table) is welcomed around the laboration in education and the drive innovators. globe by several institutions, both or- to develop export industries. The first question is a very important one that we all will have ganised and unorganised, for example 3. The building of a more educated to answer individually based on how we see our future. We the US (who rely on their reputation, workforce where there are fewer are bound to pay a price, i.e. our future, for the benefit of the background and popularity), and large options for study. world. We have to decide if we are going to do it in our HOME organisations like the EM, OECD, DAAD 4. The facilitation of cultural country or not. and many others. understanding and promotion of Some research indicates that present international experience. The ultimate motto is making the world a better and COM- funding for higher education is be- 5. The encouragement of PETITIVE place to live and eliminating social and economic ing distributed among most of these university-based research. disparities across the globe. institutions in order to create network 6. The globalisation of education points for present and future socio-eco- and the breaking down of nomic development. Is this true? geographic barriers. 7. High competition for domestic higher There are numerous theories that try education Institutions (HEIs) as they to explain, support or contradict this start to face global competition. claim: Is the EM‘s strategy in line with today‘s About the author: • The rise of emerging economies and and tomorrow‘s focus on the trend of Rajamanickam Baskaran Karthick is a student of International the transformation of the interna- social and economic developments in Master in Industrial Management (IMIM) at the Royal Institute tional business arena. financial and labour markets to create of Technology, Sweden. • The Bologna process, which is de- parity among world nations? Who are signed to make it easier to compare its stakeholders? 18 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 19. Between Cultures What It Means to Be “Trini” A new look at the Caribbean In keeping with the theme “between cultures”, a section of the magazine could be devoted to highlighting dif- ferent cultures and countries around the world to inform the reader of the unique characteristics of a given coun- try. Therefore this feature article is about what it means to be “Trini”. It describes the people, customs and unique charac- teristics of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T). When people hear of the Caribbean they think of white sandy beaches, clear blue skies and cool breezes. That is just a A view of Tobago. The Caribbean islands Trinidad and Tobago hint of the Caribbean experience. Trini- provide both vibrant cities and natural beauty. dad and Tobago, along with the other islands, share a unique history starting with the native Amerindian inhabitants Ato Boldon and Hasely Crawford. It is troleum and petrochemicals. Below are some quick facts on and extending to all the different Euro- also the birthplace of Calypso music and Trinidad and Tobago (from The World Factbook): pean powers that ruled the region, the the steel pan, which is widely claimed to British being the last in the case of T&T. be the only acoustic musical instrument invented during the 20th century. Location: Caribbean, islands between the The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago What makes Trinidad and Tobago spe- Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic is an archipelagic state in the south- cial is the diversity and warmth of the Ocean, northeast of Venezuela ern Caribbean. It consists of two main people who live here. We all come from Geographic coordinates: islands, Trinidad and Tobago, and 21 different backgrounds; have different 11 00 N, 61 00 W smaller islands. Trinidad is the larger religions, and share different beliefs Area: 5,128 sq km and livelier of the islands. It is the in- and we enjoy and celebrate these dif- Main Language: English dustrial giant of the Caribbean with an ferences. Whether Christmas, Diwali Climate: tropical; rainy season exciting nightlife, a robust energy sector or Eid everyone celebrates it together. (June to December) and a growing manufacturing industry. This is what being a Trini is all about. Highest point: El Cerro del Aripo 940 m Just two hours away from Trinidad by We are proud of our history and of what Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, asphalt. fast ferry, or 15 minutes by air, the is- we have achieved as a nation and we Pitch Lake, on Trinidad’s south- land of Tobago offers a change of pace. are always willing to share this with the western coast, is the world’s largest For the nature lover, Tobago is home to world. Bursting with spirit and a diverse natural reservoir of asphalt the oldest protected rainforest in the mix of cultural activities, warm people, Population: 1,056,608 (July 2007 est.) Western Hemisphere and, for those with eco adventure and culinary delights, Religions: Roman Catholic (26%), Hindu (22%), an adventurous spirit, the waters sur- Trinidad and Tobago has something for Anglican (8%), Muslim (6%), rounding the island host stunning coral everyone. Seventhday Adventist (4%), reefs teeming with marine life. Presbyterian, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Methodist are among the About the author: Officially Trinidadians or Tobagonians, smaller faiths. Salys Sultan graduated from the Euro- the people from Trinidad and Tobago are pean Master in Informatics (EuMI) in often informally referred to as “Trinba- 2007. She recently returned to Trinidad gonians” or “Trinis”. Unlike most of the Home of Carnival, the greatest show on earth, Trinidad and and Tobago and has been working at the English-speaking Caribbean, Trinidad Tobago has also given the world several top athletes, including University of the West Indies as a lec- and Tobago is a primarily industrialised record breaking cricketer Brian Lara and star football striker turer in the Department of Electrical and country whose economy is based on pe- Dwight Yorke, the World Cup 2007 Soca Warriors, and runners Computer Engineering. 19
  • 20. Between Cultures Intercultural Dialo The Year of How does Erasmus Mundus contribute to intercultural dialogue? “Now I am already a glo- “Erasmus Mundus gave me more con- bal citizen.” fidence, it made me understand issues from different perspectives. We had students from all continents of the world and especially apart from the course it was great to meet, make friends and un- derstand their culture.” Reuben Kyama from Kenya, Alumnus of Jayaraj Manepalli from India, student of Erasmus Mundus Masters - Journalism European Master in Global Studies and Media within Globalization: the Eu- ropean Perspective With Bulgaria and Romania joining acquiring intercultural competence to act and communicate national project. Learning to see things the European Union in 2007, the now successfully in the globalised world. from different perspectives, recognising 27 member states form an economic In this context, internationalisation of European Higher Edu- that one‘s own way of problem solving and political community of unprec- cation, actively supported by the European Union, contributes is not universal, breaking with one‘s edented diversity in culture, languages, significantly to enhancing intercultural dialogue. With knowl- own stereotypical way of thinking and ethnic groups and religions. Highlight- edge being the key to competitiveness of societies in the mod- opening one‘s mind to the ideas of oth- ing common values while respecting ern world, no justice in globalisation and no balanced world ers foster an innovative climate. this diversity is a major challenge for development can be achieved without sharing it. International European policy. Additionally, intensive exchange of students and scholars as well as collective scien- When studying within an educational exchange with the entire world in the tific research lead to dissemination of knowledge thus foster- system different from one‘s own and fields of trade, education and politics is ing innovation and problem solving on a global level. living in a country where many things an indispensable aspect of the commu- Studying abroad, which is now possible through higher edu- don’t function in the familiar way, it is nity‘s reality. cation‘s internationalisation, provides students with opportu- the ability to adapt to the new environ- Fostering intercultural dialogue is a stra- nities to gather first-hand intercultural experiences necessary ment and to expand one‘s own reper- tegic priority of the European Union and for their future working world. The simple instance of prepar- toire of action that becomes crucial for many existing European Commission ing a presentation in a multicultural group for example can achieving goals in the particular coun- policies such as lifelong learning, asy- exhibit diverse working habits and the different roles time and try. Managing this successfully turns lum rules or integration of immigrants planning play in various cultures. Whereas a German might out to be decisive for a future interna- are dedicated to intercultural under- prefer to begin preparing the presentation early and to plan tional career, where frequent changes in standing. Within the “European Year of the distribution of work as meticulously as possible, an Ital- the country one lives and works in are Intercultural Dialogue 2008”, the Com- ian could favour working on the presentation while having a common. Moreover, communicating in mission will intensify these actions by coffee with the other group members and talking about plans a foreign language within an interna- launching information campaigns and for the weekend. A Mexican is likely to refuse detailed plan- tional environment not only improves supporting intercultural projects on both ning and a Russian would wonder why it‘s necessary to be- one‘s language skills, but also supports national and local levels. Main goals of gin so early. Whereas a Chinese student might expect exact the development of intercultural com- the European Year activities include instructions from his or her academic teacher, an American munication skills, such as understand- raising awareness of the necessity for would insist on shaping the presentation independently. This ing non-verbal signals and developing a intercultural dialogue among all people experience of achieving a common goal while coping with non-insulting way of articulating criti- living in Europe and supporting them in different working practices is crucial for managing an inter- cism. 20 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 21. Between Cultures gue 2008 “Dealing with so many people from all “For sure it has influenced over the world with different rules and me already; it enabled me traditions in every country I visited made to create networks.” me become flexible and overcome stere- otypical thinking, which is a great plus to personality growth in my eyes.” Natalia Spartakova from Russia, student Lorenzo Burlon from Italy, student of of EUROCULTURE Master Course Models and Methods of Quantitative Economics (QEM) The examples mentioned above all highlight commonly agreed- new environments, flexibility, problem 1 Assigned by the European Commission on aspects of intercultural competence. Academic research solving, self-confidence in dealing with to be the EMA Service Provider, the Ger- calls a person interculturally competent if he exhibits char- other cultures and tolerance. Most of man-based intercultural consultancy acteristics such as flexibility, empathy, willingness to learn, the interview study participants felt ICUnet.AG is conducting a long-term Er- emotional stability, tolerance of ambiguities and awareness integrated into their host countries. asmus Mundus Graduate Impact Survey, of intercultural differences. However, studying abroad does Unsurprisingly, the interview study also the first part of which was a telephone not only hold opportunities to gain intercultural competence showed that the key motivating factor survey carried out during the summer but also means a great challenge. Stress, homesickness and for students to do an Erasmus Mundus of 2007. Within the upcoming online misunderstandings often lead to aloofness at first instead of Master is the opportunity to study in questionnaire survey, ICUnet.AG will also openness towards other cultures. To prevent these situations, several European countries. apply its intercultural self-assessment external support in the form of intercultural training prior to Based on these findings, the role of tools to measure personality develop- the stay abroad can be helpful. In an academic context, in- “cultural ambassadors” Erasmus Mun- ment. First results of the survey will be terculturally competent lecturers and professors may to some dus students and alumni play within the published in 2008 on the EMA website. extent take the role of a coach by helping their foreign stu- European Year of Intercultural Dialogue For details go to http://www.em-a.eu/ dents adapt to the new academic environment and by moder- should be highlighted. With their expe- about-erasmus-mundus/graduate-im- ating conflicts in a multicultural student group. riences they are the ones who animate pact-survey.html. the goals and ambitions of this initia- In its core idea and design the Erasmus Mundus programme tive by a Europe growing together ever contributes significantly to the promotion of intercultural more. dialogue, thus fitting perfectly into the approach of the “Eu- ropean Year of Intercultural Dialogue” in 2008. The positive effects of the programme in raising intercultural competence and preparing for an international career are strongly reflect- ed by the outcomes of an Erasmus Mundus telephone survey conducted in August 20071. Almost all interviewees stated that their personality changed due to the intercultural expe- About the author: rience during their Erasmus Mundus study. Striking aspects Marina Stebelezkaja is an intercultural were the enhancement of such qualities as understanding consultant working for the EMA Service of other cultures, open-mindedness, the ability to adapt to Provider ICUnet.AG. 21
  • 22. Photo Competition Between Cultures The First EMA Photo Competition Images of Interculturalism Last year the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association announced a photo competition. The first prize is a gift certificate for an online bookstore. 32 photos were submitted by students and alumni from Erasmus Mundus programmes. We are very grateful for all the interest in the competition and on the following pages you can take a look at the six best photos, selected by the Emanate team. The compe- tition has the same theme as this first issue of Emanate; between cultures – thanks a lot to all the participants for your creative contributions! The final winner will be selected Lei Wang, China, Masters in Strategic Project Management, by you and other Emanate read- University of Umeaa ers. We encourage you to go to the EMA website, www.em-a.eu, David could be regarded as the representative of European culture somehow, and we, and vote for you favourite photo. coming from five different Asian countries, stand under David and try to imitate his pose, meaning that we come to Europe to learn about European culture and knowl- The deadline for voting is March edge. But you also can find that, no one can imitate David’s pose exactly, meaning 3, 2008. that only imitate can not generate perfect feeling, so we need to create new things based on the knowledge we learned from Europe along with our own culture. Enjoy the photos, The Emanate team Danielle Batist, the Netherlands, Erasmus Mun- dus Masters – Journalism and Media within Globalization: The European Perspective. Danish School of Journalism Between Cultures: traditional Dutch delicacy with a slight Danish accent: “Welcome to Holland Party” in Aarhus, Denmark. In the picture is one of my two fellow Dutchies and party organisers Neeltje Bollen. The party was organised for all classmates (20 na- tionalities) to prepare them for their second semester in the Netherlands. 22 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 23. Photo Competition Irakli Gvaramadze, Georgia, European Masters in Lifelong Learning, University of Deusto Sanne van der Hout, the Netherlands. Master of Applied Ethics, NTNU Trondheim Erasmus Mundus - Connecting Cultures and Sharing Experi- ences. Future Leaders in Lifelong Learning Policy and Manage- The picture is taken in Trondheim, where I, together with ment gaining expertise in Copenhagen. eight other students, am joining the Masters programme in Applied Ethics. Japhet, the guy at the right, had never seen snow before. For him, the experience of so much snow was even more special than it was for us. Michelle Louise A. Mendoza, the Philippines, European MSc in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition, Katholieke Hoge- school Sint-Lieven The “Unity Star” photo portrays the fun experienced by the EM students while learning with others, taking into consideration the diverse cultures from the different parts of the world, each one representing a unique language, tradition and background. The star, as depicted by “peace sign” fingers linked to each other symbolizes the unity among these students, a microcosm of the unity of nations in the world. Moreover, this symbol also re- sembles the unity demonstrated by the different countries of the European Union whereby through the European Commission, gave each EM student an opportunity to have this unforgettable education and experience. Mini Jacob, India, Masters in Strategic Project Management, Heriot-Watt University This is a picture of a Chinese and an African stu- dent in discussion in a class in Edinburgh, Scotland! What more can one say about the intermingling of cultures, thanks to the opportunity provided by Er- asmus Mundus. 23
  • 24. Higher Education News A New Round of Erasmus Mundus Begins An interview with Programme Manager Vito Borrelli In 2009 the Erasmus Mundus programme will enter a new ties from three different countries. For Borrelli: If everything goes smoothly phase. Last year the European Commission introduced its pro- the doctoral programmes these require- the second phase of the Erasmus Mun- posal for a new generation of Erasmus Mundus – and there is ments have not yet been established. dus programme will be adopted before good news for students! Doctoral programmes, scholarships the end of 2008. Students will be able for Europeans and third-country universities in the consortia Why introduce Erasmus Mundus to apply shortly after and selected ap- are just a few highlights. Programme Manager Vito Borrelli scholarships for shorter periods of plicants will be invited to begin their from the European Commission guides us through Erasmus study? studies in the fall of 2009. This applies Mundus II. to master’s students and shorter periods Borrelli: Not all students are motivated of exchange whereas PhD scholarships If you are a student from outside the EU what is then to live in Europe for several years. There- won’t start until 2010. new about this second phase of Erasmus Mundus? fore, we would like to offer another kind of opportunity to study in Europe. With In the next phase of Erasmus Mun- Vito Borrelli: There are a couple of new things for non-EU this scheme you can travel and study at dus non-European universities are students. Firstly, Erasmus Mundus is going to offer joint doc- several universities, but it is also an op- invited to take part in programme toral programmes starting in 2009. The feedback that we have tion to spend a period of study in one consortia. Why has the European received from current Erasmus Mundus students showed in place. Commission chosen to “open up” fact that it is very important to offer some continuation after With these scholarships for shorter pe- the partnerships up in this way? the master’s level. riods the European Commission also Another important novelty is the possibility of receiving a wants to support students that have a Borrelli: In the first phase we mainly scholarship for a shorter period of study in Europe. In the new difficult situation in their home coun- wanted to promote cooperation between phase of Erasmus Mundus you don’t necessarily have to fol- tries. There will, for example, be schol- universities within European borders. low an entire master’s programme, but instead you can do a arships marked for students from poor The aims included more transparence shorter period of study at one or more European universities families, students with disabilities and and mutual recognition. In the second in any field of study. This will apply to all levels of higher edu- students from countries with authorita- phase we would like to strengthen in- cation, from undergraduate to postdoctoral. tive regimes. ternational cooperation and share good practices with interested third-coun- What about EU students – what will be new for them? How many scholarships will be tries – also to ensure that non-EU stu- available? dents will have their degrees recognised Borrelli: This is another big novelty of the programme. In the when they return home. It will not be an new phase European students will have the chance to ben- Borrelli: The European Commission is obligation for the consortia to include efit from scholarships to follow full master’s programmes. The currently negotiating the budget for the non-EU universities, but we encourage amounts of these scholarships will be a bit lower than for next phase of Erasmus Mundus with the in particular those who have already de- non-EU students, since third-country students have bigger other European institutions – meaning veloped connections. There was already travel expenses and no relations in Europe - but the scholar- nothing is for sure yet. But right now some collaboration under the first phase ships will certainly be able to cover the student’s travel and I’m expecting scholarships for more than of Erasmus Mundus and now we would living expenses. 8,000 master programme students and a like to encourage even more structured little fewer than 1,000 scholarships for collaboration. How will the Erasmus Mundus PhDs be different from doctoral programmes. The number of existing European doctoral programmes? scholarships for shorter periods of study is more difficult to estimate, since it will Borrelli: The main feature of Erasmus Mundus is the “joint- depend on the duration of the study pe- Interview by: ness” of programmes. Unlike existing programmes it is a re- riods that students will apply for. Rikke Skovgaard Andersen, quirement that different universities in different countries Magazine Team Communicator offer a study programme together. For the current master’s When can students start applying programmes the consortium requirement is three universi- for the next round of scholarships? 24 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 25. Success Stories Addressing the World Students deliver their message about conservation and mutual respect to delegates from 172 countries. Held every two to three years, the 14th Conference of Parties (CoP14) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) took place in The Hague, Netherlands from 3-15 June 2007 at the World Forum Convention Centre. Patience Mayaki, Erasmus Mun- dus European Forestry and Arjan Has- sing, Forest and Nature Conservation, both of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, addressed 1500 delegates during the first plenary session of the Convention. Their extraordinary adventure into the world of international environmental policy began two months prior to the convention in the form of a simulation conference, initiated by the Dutch Min- istry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and TEIMUN, the organising body of the yearly Model United Nations in the Netherlands. Known as CITES Student Conference of Parties (SCoP), the simulation exercise took place in Arjan Hassing and Patience Mayaki (on the left) at the Convention The Hague and lasted for two days. on International Trade and Endangered Species in The Hague Several students from different nation- alities studying in the Netherlands par- ticipated in this exercise. The aim was to gain experience in the politics of inter- ing Bulgaria) and Arjan Hassing (from Arjan and I attended the simulation conference in May, we national conservation, strategic diplo- the Netherlands, representing Brazil) never imagined we would end up addressing a distinguished macy and lobbying. Topics relevant to not only won the admiration of the par- gathering of international diplomats, ministers and foreign the agenda of the real convention were ticipants and organisers, but gave them representatives”, says Patience. “It was an honour and a rare discussed in a formal setting, with each the unique opportunity to address the opportunity to experience international environmental ne- student participant acting as a delegate international community. In the follow- gotiations at first hand.” In a post conference interview ses- of an assigned country. At the end of the ing testimony they recapture their ex- sion with the university‘s newspaper, both students affirmed simulation exercise, the organisers an- periences during this exciting event. the declining state of biodiversity and the urgency required nounced that two students were to be in dealing with many of the controversial issues related to elected by fellow delegates to present biodiversity. “As we stepped onto the podium to deliver our An important message the outcome of the negotiations at the speech, we knew we had an important message to pass on to main convention – a gift from the Dutch the delegates: emphasising that taking the right steps for a Minister and Secretary General of CITES. It was the first time the conference was better future was definitely in their hands” says Arjan. As the The outstanding performance of Pa- held in the EU and as such was treated days went by, both students continued to be fascinated by the tience Mayaki (from Nigeria, represent- with a great deal of importance. “When way the parties addressed and dealt with different environ- 25
  • 26. Success Stories Delegates address and deal with environmental Patience and Arjan address the convention. issues at the convention. mental issues. However, little did they ments that allowing the sale of ivory drawn into interesting conversations by the international know that they would be at the heart of would encourage poaching and con- visitors who all enjoyed the message we had conveyed at the seeing history being made. tribute to the further decline of their beginning of the conference. Together with the delegates, we fragile population, including an adverse visited interesting places in the Netherlands and participated impact on their source of foreign rev- in the ministerial reception at the Binnenhof, the prestigious The Politics of Ivory enue – tourism. seat of the Dutch parliament”, Arjan says with an expression of satisfaction on his face. The students also had the opportu- One of the exciting moments of the “It was intriguing to watch as the dif- nity to meet and speak with the Dutch Minster of Agriculture, conference occurred in the second ferent African countries deliberated on Nature and Food quality, Gerda Verburg. week. Ivory stocks from elephants have the best way forward that would benefit remained a controversial issue among the continent as a whole as opposed to Future Prospects some member states within the con- the different solutions currently being vention for many years. Prior CoPs had applied by the various countries”, the ended in a stalemate over agreements students explain. After days of intense “After getting the hang of international environment politics, on how to dispense with ivory stocks. negotiations and lobbying, a one-off we have a clear sense of direction in the pursuit of our future International law prohibits the sale sale of ivory from Botswana, Namibia, careers”, says Patience. Arjan adds to this by stating: “Interna- of ivory to avoid poaching and illegal South Africa and Zimbabwe was ap- tional policy and diplomacy will make a difference in the pro- trade which has often led to the death proved at the plenary session with a tection and conservation of our natural resources and I want of many elephant populations across nine-year “resting period” for the ivory to be part of achieving a strong voice to reach this by work- Africa. Ironically, the decline in these trade. Patience emphasised the signifi- ing at an international level on biodiversity.” Patience agrees elephant populations is geographically cance of this achievement during the with his point of view as she points out: “After CITES, I know limited to some countries like Kenya post conference interview with her uni- for sure that I want to commit myself to ensuring a positive and Mali while others such as the South versity‘s newspaper when she said, “It change for Africa and the rest of the world by working on an African countries of Namibia, South filled me with joy seeing African coun- international scale.” Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe en- tries unite with my own eyes. All African joy healthy populations. The countries countries finally managed to speak with that enjoy a healthy population have one voice for the continent. It shows a acquired significant stockpiles of ivory bright future for Africa.” over the years through natural deaths. It About the author: was these countries that advocated the Patience Mayaki graduated from the Master of Science in Eu- The Social Angle of sale of their ivory stocks and for a good ropean Forestry in September and is currently doing an MBA at reason. According to them, the revenue TiasNimbas Business School in the Netherlands under a Fentener International Politics generated from ivory is used for con- van Vlissingen Environmental Management MBA Scholarship. servation and improving the quality of “Apart from being at the centre of ne- Arjan Hassing is currently in the second year of his MSc pro- life of the rural poor. Affected countries gotiations, we had the chance to mingle gramme at the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy group at opposing the move put up strong argu- and discover new networks as we were Wageningen University, the Netherlands. 26 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 27. Your Say Steps toward Ending Discrimination The role of the European Union in promoting and protecting “Dalit“ human rights in India The word Dalit means “outcastes” who fall outside the traditional four- fold caste system in India. Considered to be impure and polluting, they are physically and socially excluded from the rest of society. The Constitution of India (1950) abolished “untouchabil- ity“, but caste-related discrimination is deeply-rooted in India, and the Indian Dalits still face nearly 140 forms of A Dalit child E.M. Shiva from West Ben- work and descent-based discrimination, gal died on 18.12.03 due to malnutri- tion. (Source: MASUM) including bans against eating, using the same glasses in village tea shops, using common village paths, riding a bicycle inside the village, sharing the burial grounds, entering village temples, mar- rying members of other castes, etc. of Health and Family Welfare shows that “half of India‘s Dalit while commenting that implementation According to the report “Crimes in India children are undernourished, 21% are “severely underweight”, of these laws remains grossly inade- 2005“, 27 officially registered atrocities and 12% die before their fifth birthday”. quate and mentioning some other issues are committed against Dalits every day, Formerly primarily India‘s own problem, the Dalit issue be- which continue to affect India‘s Dalits. and many more go unreported due to came international after the 2001 Durban Conference against The Parliament calls on the European fear of reprisals. Official police statis- Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intol- Commission and the European Council tics show that every week 13 Dalits are erance. International communities have spread global aware- to raise the issue of caste discrimination murdered, 5 Dalits homes or possessions ness of this problem and some recent initiatives, mainly from during EU-India Summits and in other are burnt, and 6 Dalits are kidnapped or the European Union, have been very effective in protecting dialogues with India, including those on abducted; every day 3 Dalit women are and promoting Dalit human rights. human rights and trade. EU development raped and 11 Dalits are beaten, and a cooperation with India must take meas- crime is committed against a Dalit every On 4 September 2003, the European Parliament adopted ures to bridge the wide gap between 18 minutes. A recent study by Shah, its resolution on the European Union‘s human rights policy Dalits and the rest of the population and Mander, Thorat, Deshpande and Baviskar (2002/2011(INI)), paragraph 62 of which urges the Council and give priority to the promotion of equal found that “public health workers re- the Member States to strongly support initiatives to promote opportunities for Dalits in private EU fused to visit Dalit homes in 33% of vil- the fight against caste discrimination and to promote the call based companies. lages, Dalits were prevented from enter- for Special Rapporteurs on caste discrimination. Paragraph ing police stations in 27.6% of villages, 162 also recommends that the Council and the Commission Thus, the strong commitment of the Dalit children had to sit separately while address and take action on caste discrimination in political European Union has achieved progress, eating in 37.8% of government schools, dialogues and in EU development and trade cooperation with and we are waiting for an India free of Dalits did not get mail delivered to their the countries concerned. Now we have two Special Rappor- discrimination. homes in 23.5% of villages, and Dalits teurs on caste discrimination. On 18 December 2006, a public were denied access to water sources in hearing on the Dalit issue took place in the Development Com- About the author: 48.4% of villages because of segrega- mittee of the European Parliament. On 1 February 2007, the Buddhadeb Halder is a student of Eras- tion and untouchability practices”. A plenary of the European Parliament adopted a resolution rec- mus Mundus MA Human Rights Practice survey conducted by the Indian Ministry ognising the existence of laws protecting the rights of Dalits, at Gothenburg University, Sweden. 27
  • 28. Your Say Globalisation in Education The effect on cross-cultural students and the role of European education I witness it every day as a cross-cultured student from an yet these regulations created a global Globalisation affects all parts of life, Asian country in the Netherlands. But my experience is limited impression that the US no longer wel- including education. Universities have to the impact of local people on non-local foreigners; how comed foreigners. become seekers rather than providers, this is affecting education worldwide is new and gratifying Every country has realised that educa- looking to attract bright students both for me as a student. tion is the best way to achieve progress locally and globally. American Univer- The big-name universities in the US can no longer expect the and leadership. It is especially vital to sities have lost their leading role after best students to come to them. Globalisation has affected developing nations. Asia, for example, 9/11 as students shift their interests some positively and others negatively, not only students or especially China and India, but also Sin- towards other parts of the world. Many universities, but also governments and economic affairs. gapore, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan and countries have realised that education Vietnam, provides the largest export of is one way to become noticed and stop students to the US and Europe. Most of the brain-drain from their country. Si- these Asian countries are now investing multaneously, they are working to at- “The main product in education and youth to combat the tract foreign students into their own brain-drain phenomenon facing devel- educational systems. How are European oping countries. China plans to increase universities responding to this compe- of Erasmus Mundus education spending from 0.5 to 4 per- tition? Are European Universities doing cent of annual GDP. India is also invest- enough to appear upfront on the glo- is the alumnus who ing heavily in education. bal level? Things are changing for Asian countries too; gone are the days when passes through all the only option for advanced studies So what happens when the biggest was to move west. Asian universities provider of students to the west devel- the educational and are predicted to become direct competi- ops its in-house educational system? tors to European Universities in the very Due to the early stage of this initiative near future. there has not yet been a great impact, cultural steps and I am a student of the Economics and but some countries are already seeing Management of Network Industries results. In China 20 percent of its col- comes up as a perfect (EMIN) Masters program of Erasmus lege-age population now receives an Mundus. I had originally dreamt of do- in-house education. India‘s affiliations combination of ing a Masters in Business Administration with top western schools allow students (MBA) at one of the Ivy-Leagues, a great to study at top institutions around the cultural and contribution to my resume. I regularly world through one single program. visited the websites of such schools as In addition, the number of international Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and Whar- students at Asian universities is increas- academic success!” ton. Thus it came as a surprise to find ing day by day. China is investing heavily one Chinese and three European schools in the English language; almost all the in the top 10 of the Financial Times‘ top Chinese universities offer an English Business Schools ranking. It was then I language program and their number realised that the opportunities were far The US remains the world leader in education, but the US has is growing. India has the greatest ad- more diverse than I had assumed. also helped other countries to become fierce competition. Af- vantage with English as an official lan- The impact of globalisation was not ter 9/11 the US imposed tighter visa restrictions, intervened in guage. Japan and Korea are also joining clear to me when I enrolled in a Cross students‘ education and reduced government funding. These the race, and Singapore already has an Cultural Management course in my first limitations primarily affected Asian students (who consti- international education system. term at TUDelft in the Netherlands. Now tute a substantial percentage of foreign students in the US), Europe is quite aware of the new edu- 28 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 29. Your Say About the Author Faisal Khan is an Erasmus Mundus stu- dent studying in the Masters of Econom- ics and Management of Network Indus- tries (EMIN). He studied at the TUDelft, Netherlands for his first year and is now studying at the University of Paris. difficult as students might like some- cational trends in Asia. Bernd Wachter, the UK and the US, but students are now looking for more thing which is offered not in English. director of the Brussels-based Academic diversity in culture, environment, quality of education and fi- In addition there is a lack of marketing. Cooperation Association, said, “The pace nally language. The marketing initiatives of the Euro- at which China and India are creating pean Commission (Erasmus Mundus) higher-education institutions is quite On 18 October 2006 the European Commission proposed are not as strong as US and UK mar- astounding … And it‘s not just quantity, founding the European Institute of Technology (EIT), a world keting in Asian countries. The process it‘s quality”. The EU‘s commissioner of class institute for growth in the educational and job sectors. is not complete after selecting a stu- education also warned in a recent in- The goal would be to combine the expertise from countries dent and awarding a scholarship. The terview that British, French and German all over Europe. main product of Erasmus Mundus is the universities risk being “overtaken” by alumni student who passes through all those in China and India within a dec- the educational steps and comes up as ade if they do not modernise. But what a perfect combination of cultural and steps is Europe taking in this matter? academic success. The European Com- France, with its Polytechnique Institute mission must then market its alumni and INSEAD Business School, attracts and use them to spread the word about many international students. INSEAD their experiences. From my own experi- has allowed its students to move free- ence in Erasmus Mundus, I can say that ly between the French and Singapore the image of studying in Europe is still Campuses, a step which was so success- far less attractive to international stu- ful that INSEAD has initiated another dents than the reality proves to be. joint MBA program in Asia with the Europe, with its diversity in business, Chinese Tsinghua University. Many uni- culture and technology, is an excellent versities around the world have taken a choice for international students, but similar approach. But is this the strategy it still has to provide more to students Europe needs to draw international stu- who are becoming more important to dents to Europe? universities. Students now have many Many Asian students see the absence of Students make use of the library at the TUDelft options and consider not only quality English as a disadvantage for Europe as in the Netherlands. education but also other factors such as a place to study; most Asian students culture, atmosphere, market disclosure who come to the West usually wish to and growth. The winners in the global improve their English. According to last Another major initiative of the European Commission is the educational race will be the most in- year‘s reports of the European Commis- Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Programme for third world ternational and diversified institutions. sion, this was one of the major reasons countries. It comprises 80 (at the writing of this article) Mas- Europe has an advantage over the US, for student flight from Europe. But al- ters degree programmes spanning up to two years, allowing China and India, but still lacks the di- though Europe lacks English, it provides students to attend up to four universities in different Euro- versity of courses and universal English an opportunity for students to learn a pean countries for a single programme. The scholarships are language distribution. variety of other languages. In the inter- awarded based on a nationality quota system and provide an Who provides the best education is still national business world, learning a Eu- excellent opportunity for students to study in a multi-cultural undetermined. But it is only a matter of ropean language gives students an ad- environment. time. vantage over other applicants. Students In spite of these positive developments, there are also some are well aware of this opportunity. The negative aspects which keep students away from Europe. First, English language has been one of the the clear distinction between programmes taught in English key attractions for foreign students in and other European languages makes programme selection 29
  • 30. Your Say Literacy More than Reading and Writing Literacy is contextualised in different practices depending on the socio-cultural and historical situation argued against what he called the “au- nomic interest – literacy that Street labels as “colonial lit- What is literacy? Is it just about reading tonomous” model of literacy and for an eracy”. In addition, there is “dominant literacy”, implemented and writing or about how we respond to “ideological” model of literacy, implicat- by members of the same society but frequently belonging to and understand our world? This essay ed in power relations and embedded in different classes, ethnic groups or localities. Based on stud- will discuss the academic standpoint on specific cultural meanings and practices. ies from Malagasy, Iran and India, Street argues for a more “literacy“. It moves from an apparently Literacy, Street comments, “is a social culturally sensitive literacy transfer and a greater attention to naive understanding of literacy as tech- process in which particular socially con- the power relations embedded in literacy practices. nology towards a consciousness of the structed technologies are used within interrelation between literacy and social particular institutional frameworks for and cultural processes. Literacy events are quite simply events involving reading specific social purposes”. He adds that Early research ignored the social context or writing. Street, however, introduced the idea of literacy in the transfer of literacy from a domi- of literacy, treating it instead as a neutral practices, a concept further developed by scholars working technology. However, social stud- in “New Literacy Studies” (NLS). Thise concept por- ies of literacy have revealed the trays literacy events and individual actions within the coupling of literacy and power. solid social framework of power structures and cultural “The impact of the Educationist Paulo Freire advo- meanings. Like Bourdieu‘s practice theory, the concept cated that literate people held a of literacy practices clearly situates individuals‘ acts and decided advantage over illiterate interpersonal relations in a social structural framework. culture and the people. He criticised the “banking The NLS has argued that literacy does not necessarily education model” and called in- lead to any of the social outcomes previously attached politico-economic stead for “consciousness-raising” to it. In a major contribution to this debate, education- forms of education which incor- ists Sylvia Scribner and Michael Cole, in their study of structures of those porated learners‘ prior knowledge literacy among the Vai in Liberia, present what they call and encouraged them to learn to a “practice account” of literacy, and find that illiterate passing on literacy “read the word and the world”. adults, particularly in urban areas, share some of the The Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu skills and attitudes usually only associated with literate has demonstrated the role of persons. are likely to be more language in social reproduction, Researchers within NLS equate the term “literacy” with especially with notions of lin- the social practices of reading and writing and then significant than the guistic capital, linguistic market examine the wider context around literacy practices. and linguistic habitus. He argued This essay has examined the integration of social and technical skills.“ that linguistic exchange invokes cultural concerns into literacy research, the approach complex networks of power re- called NLS. In the past twenty years NLS, with its socio- lationships, and shows how this cultural approach to examining literacy as it is acquired blunts the possible impact of and used by members of various cultures in relation to education upon social change. Simi- nant group to those with little previous structures of power and authority, has become one of the larly, psychologist Foucault‘s notion of experience in reading and writing, the major theoretical frameworks in literacy research. A refram- power-knowledge emphasises the role impact of the culture and the politico- ing of literacy as a critical social practice requires us to take of human sciences in the normalisation economic structures of those passing on account of these historical as well as cross-cultural perspec- of social principles, institutions and dis- literacy are likely to be more significant tives in classrooms and to help students locating their literacy courses, including conceptualisations of than the technical skills. Present-day practices. knowledge. literacy programmes may likewise strike Brian Street‘s 1995 ethnography of mul- deep at the roots of cultural belief. In About the author: tiple forms of literacy in Iran revolution- many modern contexts outsiders bring Sk Aktar Ali is a student of European Master in Lifelong Learning ised literacy studies. Street convincingly literacy for their own political and eco- at the University of Deusto, Spain. 30 emanate | ISSUE 01
  • 31. Your Say Working toward Academic and Personal Growth in EUROAQUAE The EUROAQUAE programme and its ability to prepare inexperienced but willing-to-learn students to be specialists in solving water resources problems. understanding of the human factor. The EUROAQUAE pro- Water is essential for life. But how companies. The majority are employed gramme trains students in both. much do we know about the physics of by the leading companies in water en- water? What is the most sustainable gineering (UK, France, Australia, China way of managing water in a given re- Diverse universities and students from different parts of the etc), while some continue their educa- gion and how can we use up-to-date world provide a colourful cultural experience. We had an un- tion (PhD programmes) in Germany, computer technologies to do it? How forgettable time celebrating our birthdays with international Canada etc. Connections established can we include the differing legislative, parties. Everyone prepared their own national food, including during the course are supported after- cultural and human issues affecting Russian pancakes, Indian curry, fondue with French cheese… ward by the the EUROAQUAE Alumni water resources? EUROAQUAE prepares gourmet events! After intense weeks of lectures and practi- Association (EAAA) created in 2006 as specialists to find the answers. cal lessons we explored each other‘s cultures as well as the a link between students and alumni. The EUROAQUAE is a joint degree Master of alumni give advice on such issues as Science programme in Hydroinformat- mobility and orientation and share their “Because many wa- ics and Water Management. Hydroin- overall experience. Hopefully the EAAA formatics is a synergy between infor- can help the Erasmus Mundus Alumni ter bodies are shared mation and communication technology Association with matters related to Hy- and water science with the objective of droinformatics and EUROAQUAE experi- satisfying social requirements. ence. by several countries, Five universities in Hungary, Germany, The programme develops personal skills France, Spain and the United Kingdom such as patience, the ability to absorb water management is are united to teach Hydroinformatics new ideas, the ability to work under and Water Management to students pressure and to meet tight deadlines. a multinational from all over the world. The students We, representing the graduates, can say have to study in at least three of these that our personalities have changed due discipline.“ countries, providing for a better un- to the course. We are more flexible in derstanding of different approaches changing environments, have enhanced to Hydroinformatics and a chance to our perception of the world, and are get to know the diversity of European more willing to improve people‘s qual- country of the current semester by attending Jazz concerts, Union. ity of the life through Hydroinformatics classical operas, football matches or just playing ball games High academic standards provide de- and Water Management. on the beach. We also attended lessons our classmates gave tailed knowledge of modelling con- Highly motivated and interested appli- in their native languages. All these events have prepared us cepts, numerical methods, Geographic cants are welcome. For more informa- for the world‘s diversity. Information Systems, modern Internet tion, please visit the web page: www. Travelling is an important part of the programme. When else technologies and, of course, various euroaquae.org, where you can find more could you go to Nice for a two-week practical Hydro Europe water sciences. These technologies information about the course and the course, visit classmates in Barcelona for a weekend, go to the help the graduates manage water re- EAAA. Oktoberfest and enjoy the bath spas in Budapest ? sources sustainably. Students also travel to the “virtual” world by participating in a Because many water bodies are shared collaborative project where information is exchanged through About the authors: by several countries, water manage- web-based meetings. We could do a surprising amount just by Hossein Rezaei, Konstantin Vasilyev and ment is a multinational discipline. Suc- using the Internet. Anna Bozhko are members of the Coor- cess in such an environment requires After the EUROAQUAE course the alumni are professionally dination Board of EUROAQUAE Alumni not only technical skills, but also an and culturally prepared to work in European water resources Association. 31
  • 32. Visit the EMA website at www.em-a.eu emanate “Emanate” is the official magazine of the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association (EMA). Editors (EMA) Rikke Skovgaard Andersen (EMA Magazine Communicator) Michael Eshiemokhai Angela Johnston Jasmine Kang Gregor Lichtfuss Zachary Rothstein Mario Pardo Segovia Valentina Villoria Luca Zanaica Editors (ICUnet.AG) Amy Gebauer | Sebastian Popp Natalia Spartakova | Marina Stebelezkaja Project Management ICUnet.AG What is the EMA? Rindermarkt 4 The Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association is a network D-94032 Passau of students and alumni of the European Erasmus Mundus masters www.icunet.ag programmes. EMA is a forum for its members to meet and exchange experiences. EMA also works to ensure good conditions for internati- Graphic Design onal students and graduates in Europe and to improve the quality of PR+Werbung Ludwig Faust Erasmus Mundus study programmes. Prüfeninger Schloßstraße 2 D-93051 Regensburg Any thoughts about the website? www.pr-faust.de EMA is a community with vast geographical distribution, and cultural diversity. In an endeavour to bridge the gap, we are committed to pro- Print Shop viding a host of useful web-based services to the community. Please Erhardi Druck GmbH forward your feedback, queries, and suggestions about our online ser- Leibnizstraße 11 vices to IT@em-a.eu D-93055 Regensburg www.erhardi.de Are you a prospective Erasmus Mundus student? View a complete list of available Erasmus This project has been funded with sup- Mundus Masters programmes here: port from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only http://ec.europa.eu/education/programmes/ of the authors, and the Commission mundus/projects/index_en.html cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Education and Culture Erasmus Mundus