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Does Culture Matter?

Study Visit

Bacău - Romania , 4th - 10th May 2015 (On Going Project)

Does Culture Matter? A good question right! Act Global has joined with our Romanian Partners (Addo Consult) and four others (from Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Sweden) to look deeper into the topic of Inter-Cultural and Cross-Cultural Communication.

Study Visit

Overall the project (Does Culture Matter) will last one year and will and involve 2 training courses (1 in Romania and 1 in Indonesia) and an online coaching module. This project has two aims.

  1. To define the role of cultural knowledge in trainers, teachers, mentors work by creating practical and critical intercultural training environment for participants, and its further analysis.
  2. To provide a good base for exchange of knowledge, best practices, and innovative ideas in the field of methodology by involving partners from formal and non-formal education.

For the first stage of the project we went to Bacău in the north of Romania for a study visit. The visit gave all the opportunity for each organisation in the project to get to know each other and explore the issues each country faced in terms of Inter-Cultural and Cross-Cultural Communication. As the countries and cultures were diverse so were the issues, however by the end of the week we were able to agree of 4 common areas we would like to explore more in-depth, which were…

  1. Values and Beliefs
  2. Conflict Management
  3. Logistics and Organisation
  4. Inter-Cultural Communication Skills

Being a study visit we got the chance to meet with some organisations. Mid-Week we went to the city of Brasov (about 3 hours from Bacău in the region of Transylvania) where we met with an organisation call Iceburg. Mr Ionut Tata the director of Iceburg gave his time to share about the organisation and how they support issues in Inter-Cultural Communication. Iceburg has a working hub for organisations called Hub One Zero that work in both the business and NGO sector, the space gives organisation the opportunity to network and collaborate with each other and being such a space they are also attracting international organisations and users. Mr Tata discussed with us about how Romania is becoming very attractive for foreign organisations to locate too. Romania has some of the best Internet connection in Europe and a competitive workforce. He went on to explain that Germany is a country that are setting up a number of businesses in the area and as a result their are a number of Germans coming to Romania and Romanians going to Germany. This of course does not come without it’s Inter-Cultural and Cross-Cultural challenges. Iceburg have been supporting organisation by providing training that look at the different styles of communities and approaches to work. The training they have provided has supported better integration and productivity within the organisations. Gaining the context to how they has been achieved was really insightful for us as a group to learn about.

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Later in the week we also had the opportunity to meet with Mara Matei from Lumina Association a local Hospice. This organisation works with children and young people that face terminal illnesses and provide them with physiotherapy, care and project that improve there over quality of life. Their work was very inspiring and of cause highly emotional so it was a real privilege to here about their work.

Although based in Romania (Just outside of Bacău) the organisation has a management committee based in the UK, who also supports their funding revenue. As a result the organisation also faces some Cross-Cultural challenges in some of the same areas as Iceburg, such as working method and communication styles. Having the chance to visit both organisations gave us as a group some great perspective into the challenges that come with both Cross-Cultural and Inter-Cultural working, in both the business and NGO sector.

During our visit day we were also able to visit Dracula’s Castle. Romania has become famous for the legend of Dracula vlad-tepes-impaler-draculaand during this visit we got to learn the truth behind the myth. The Castle belonged to a Prince from the 15th Century known as Vlad the Impaler. Prince Vald of Wallachia (now a region of Romania) was given this title due to the bloody reputation he had for dealing with his enemies. This story was later picked up by 19th a century Irish Novelist called Bram Stoker, who adapted the story into his fictional tail Dracula. Ever since the story and mythology of vampires has grown into the successful mythology that we all know and love.  

No international project would be complete without an Inter-Cultural evening. On of the evening we experienced a feast of foods from all the countries represented as well as presentation and discussions. Local community members were also invited and we were also joined by representatives from the Romanian Youth Movement for Democracy who conducted and interview with us and also share about the work they were doing. The evening was fantastic and people were so curious to the countries they knew so little about.

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Overall the visit was great, we learned so much and are very excited to see what will be the next stages of the project. We look forward to bringing Indonesian participants out to Romania, and to host the final stage of the project in Bali, Indonesia.

Consortium of Partners in the project are: