I came back day before yesterday evening from my first intercultural tour of my town where I live - I was the tour-guide, mind you... and I'd been dreading this day for weeks! i mean i was both excited and nervous!
It was, well, exhausting - not physically, but mentally.
3 hours, 20 people. Germans mostly... plus Turkish Muslims, Korean Christians, Portugese Catholics, that's what I took them to see and hear about. And an authentic Italian café (the longest-standing one in town) and Colombians to round it all off.
Many of the people present told me they liked it, or at lease found it intersting, which I'm enormously glad for. It could have gone pretty wrong as well, after all. And in the beginning, it actually looked like it would...
I don't actually know if I'm the only one having thoughts and opinions like that, but when you're somewhere as a guest, you shouldn't openly offend your hosts. I mean, it wasn't THAT bad, but the discussion grew rather heated after quite a short while - and little old me caught in between somewhere... But we were invidet to a glass of Turkish tea before getting the tour of the mosque - which wasn't the way I had planned it, but anyway - and my group actually started a discussion about women having no rights in Islam and why people couldn't do more to be integrated into German society and so on and so forth... Yet again, I saw a good example of people talking and talking and not trying to actually understand each other, but kind of missing each other while - or even by - directing their words at them. Neither party could actually understand the others. Not that I'm saying they all did it on purpose or that you shouldn't be entitled to your very own opinion... but if germans expect others to be integreted, well there should be some effort from thier own side as well, innit?!
you cannot get to know another culture if you aren't willing to get involved, if you aren't willing to see through their eyes, their cultural 'baggage', so to speak, if you don't allow for that other culture to get into your head, even, to a certain point. That's my personal point of view anyway. Sigh I could write a thesis on this topic :P
Many people travel the world and think they know all about it, but have ever only stayed in hotels or with their own group, never with native families or mingled with the locals. Prejudices are worst! Personally, I find that sad.
and it surprises me that even the most polite and the elite have prejudices :-/.
I know not all is right in the world, but maybe it often is like that because people don't let other cultures 'get to them'... I find that sad.
err ok enough of complaining n whining.. on the whole the intercultural trip was just AWESOME! I wish I could connect it somehow to my professional aspect! :D that would be just too good to be true :D