Culture

While staying in a different country, you will also be introduced to a new culture. Besides that, the people at your project will see a new culture as well; yours. By doing these workshops and games you can create an exchange, in which both cultures can be a source of inspiration.

Age 8+

Life skill(s): Critical and creative thinking, decision making

Age group: 8+

Number of participants: 5-50 people

Location: Room or area with enough space for the whole group

Time: 5+ minutes

Material:

A line dividing the space into two equal sections

Description:

Create a conversation by using the statements and dilemma’s, applicable within every category.

Method

Divide the room in 2 equal sections. Everybody starts at one side of the line. Mention the first statement/dilemma and tell what the answer of each side of the line is. Everybody chooses a side. When everybody has chosen, ask some participants why they have chosen the side they are standing at. Join yourself as well and stimulate a conversation by asking questions. The theme of this activity is easily adjustable to your situation.

Make sure there are always two answer options: true/not true, agree/disagree, happy/sad, etc

Examples of themes

These are some themes you can make dilemmas about, but you are free to think of other themes as well.

  • Food
  • Music
  • Clothes
  • Animals
  • Traffic
  • Holidays
  • Relationships
  • Gender
  • Work
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Vacation

Age 10+

Life skill(s): Empathy and communication

Age group: 10+

Number of participants: 5-15 people

Location: Big enough to make a circle

Time: 30+ minutes

Material:

  • Pens
  • Post-its

Description:

Initiating a conversation about the differences and similarities between your cultures..

Introduction

Start with an easy introductory energizer. For example; find someone who has the same hobby, find someone who has the same age, find someone with the same shoe size.

Questions

Think of two or more starting questions. You can use these at the beginning or safe them as a backup to use when the group does not come up with a lot of questions. Make sure there is a safe ambience in the group. For example, do not force participants to answer, but rather ask questions and answer theirs to create an honest conversation. Themes you can discuss are:

  • Food
  • Music
  • Clothes
  • Animals
  • Traffic
  • Holidays
  • Relationships
  • Gender
  • Work
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Vacation

Backup ideas

When the group is not very talkative:

  1. Give every participant a two post-its and let them write down 1 or 2 questions. Collect all the post-its in a bag or jar. Ask a participant to take out paper and read the question out loud. Start a conversation around this question.
  2. Throw some dilemmas into the mix and start a discussion. Examples:
    1. In my culture it’s okay to be late.
    2. In my culture you marry first and then get children.
    3. In my culture it’s normal to both work and study at the same time.
    4. In my culture dance, music and food play an important role.
    5. In my country, we have national holidays.
    6. In my culture men and women have equal rights and are treated equal.
    7. In my country education is made fitted by different levels.

Ending

When there is nothing left to talk about or you are running out of time, close the conversation with a powerful energizer.

Age 18-30

Life skill(s): Intercultural awareness

Age: 18-30

Number of participants: 10 people per supervisor/instructor

Location: Classroom

Time: 60-90 minutes

Material:

  • Post-its
  • Pens
  • Poster

Description:

This session is meant for either a group of man or a group of women, not mixed. This way you will get both the male and the female perspectives on relationships and sexuality on the project you are staying. When the participants would like to share what you have talked about with the other gender, you can arrange this.

  1. Tell the participants that the group is going to talk about relationships and sexuality during this activity. Hand out post-its and pens and give the participants some time to write down questions and subjects they would like to discuss. Once they are done, ask them to stick their post-its to the poster.
  2. Read the post-its and divide them into categories to get a clear overview of the subjects that the participants wish to talk about.
  3. Ask the group which subject they want to discuss first. If they cannot make a choice, do this yourself. Examples: contraceptives, sex education, marriage, sex, relationships, the role of wives and children

Tip: Start with easy subjects such as marriage, relationships, the role of wives and children. step by step you can build up to the more difficult subjects.

  1. Think of some other questions during the discussion of these subjects and compare the local culture to the Dutch culture, to create an exchange as well.

Question examples:

  • What do you think is important in a relationship?
  • Would you forgive your partner if he/she cheats on you? And why?
  • How many partners can you have?
  • When can you or do you want to marry?
  • Do you need to get married before having children? Why?
  • What happens if your family doesn't like your partner?
  • How many children would you want?
  • Did you get sex education at school? What did you learn?
  • Did you get sex education from your parents?

  1. At the end you answer the question from the group, if they have any.
  2. Brief reflection and evaluation. Ask the group what they thought of this session

Point of attention: Be aware of your role as a leader of this conversation. Your job is to listen carefully, ask question, motivate your participants to join in the conversation and lead the discussion, so everybody gets the chance to say something. Be aware that this theme can be a taboo in this culture and maybe not everybody is willing to talk about this. Show respect and try to fill in this session according to what the group wants.

Adults

Life skill(s): Intercultural awareness

Age group: Adults

Number of participants: 15 people

Location: Room with chairs

Time: 1 hour

Material:

  • Flip-over / (black)board
  • Case printed/written out

Description:

Introduction

The group is sitting in a circle.

Ask every participant to introduce him/herself by telling their name and what their favourite activity to undertake with children is.

Differences and similarities

Explain that you are curious about the differences and similarities between the educational systems here (at the project you are staying) and the Netherlands. Ask your participants to think about particularities or similarities you expect to find and let them share this with the rest of the group.

Make an overview on the board or flip-over with all the differences and similarities the group came up with.

Try come up with least 5 differences and 5 similarities.

Case studies

Explain that you would like to split up in smaller groups to talk about several cases that can occur within a classroom.

Case 1: What would you do when you have a student in class, who is not successful, fails the exams and seems depressed?

Case 2: How do talents of children play a role in their school life?

Life skill(s): Intercultural awareness

Age group: Adults

Number of participants: 10-15

Location: Room with chairs

Time: 60 minutes

Material:

  • Poster with parenting styles
  • Poster with the preventive system
  • Pens
  • Post-its

Description:

The Salesians of Don Bosco have their own pedagogical system; the preventive system. This system is used by all the Salesians and at all the Don Bosco projects, but it can be different in every country, due to the differences in culture, norms and values and the environment. Parenting styles are also different in every country, and this influences the working methods at the projects as well. To get a better perspective on how things go at the project you are staying you can always talk to the staff.

The preventive system

Tell the staff that you have heard of the preventive system in the Netherlands. Ask them if they can explain this system to you. You can also show a picture of the triangle as you know it. Ask about the meaning behind every pillar and why they are so important (Religion, Reason and Loving-kindness). Don’t be afraid to ask some critical and ethical questions, but make sure you do this in a respectful and non-judging way. For example:

  • Why is religion so important?
  • Can you tell me some situations in which you act based on this system?
  • What do you like about the preventive system?
  • What do you find difficult while using the preventive system?
  • Do the children/youngsters know about the preventive system? Why or why not?
  • Do you have any other methods or visions that you work with besides this one? Would you want that? Why?
   

Parenting styles

Explain them what parenting usually looks like in the Netherlands and tell the staff that you are curious about the parenting styles at the place you are staying. Ask the staff what they find important in parenting and what parenting methods they use. You can show them the parenting styles as we know them in the Netherlands by using a poster.

Name the parenting style that is the most used in the Netherlands and tell how your own upbringing was. What did your parents teach you? What was allowed and what was not during your childhood? What is important in the Dutch parenting styles?

Ask the staff about the parenting styles at the project.

  • What is important while raising children and youngsters?
  • Why do you work with children and youngsters?
  • What do you want to reach with this target group?
  • What is your opinion about punishing children and how does this work? And why?
  • Have you had any regrets about how you dealt with a certain situation?
  • Do you have any plans for the future?

Close the meeting with a brief reflection and evaluation. Hand out a post-it and a pen to every staff member and ask them to describe their youth work with one word. Once everyone is finished, discuss what they wrote down.

* Authoritarian/Disciplinarian: In this style the educator shows a lot of control and not much responsiveness nor commitment. The educator is in charge and the child has to obey and show respect. When the child does not do this, he/she will be punished. this parenting style mostly occurs in South America, Asia and Africa.

* Authoritative: In this style the educator shows a lot of control, bu also a lot of commitment and responsiveness. Educators are having dialogues with the child. The two parties are equal. Children are being encouraged to give their opinion, which teaches them to come up for themselves at a young age. This parenting style is seen a lot in the Western countries.

* Uninvolved: In this style the educator barely shows control, responsiveness and commitment. The educator is not very present and only cares about its own interests.

* Permissive/Indulgent: In this style the educator barely shows control but does show a lot of responsiveness and commitment. The educator has limited control over the child and is bad a setting boundaries. Eventually, the child makes every decision and has control over the parent.