Guiding Foreign Students in Practical Placement – Sharing Ideas and Good Practices

Monthly Archives: December 2014

Piloting of Soulbus is starting

eCoach pilot_a

Following the presentation of Soulbus eLearning at the 3rd kickoff meeting held in Zagreb, our WP3 partners have directed the consortium to get everything ready for the 1st pilot. It is one of the two pilots that are planned throughout the project with the goal of refining the content that has been designed so that it meets the needs of teachers and mentors and delivers what is promised: multicultural competencies for teachers and mentors training professionals working or planning to work in a multicultural environment.

Where did the content design start?

Teachers at higher education institutions and mentors in working life partners were asked to answer a series of questions back in January of 2014, the answers were summarized and our WP2 partners produced a case study repository that was given to WP3 partners to use as guidelines to develop the content. The WP3 partners presented their initial plan for content design at the 2nd kick off meeting held in Tartu (Estonia) in April of 2014. The finalized content was brought for presentation to Zagreb and is now ready to be studied and refined.

How do we refine the content?

30 teachers and mentors have been selected to study the developed content in detail during the 1st (of the 2 planned) pilot(s). They will go through the pages of text, pictures, diagrams, movie clips, articles on the web as well as scientific journals that have been included or referenced in the content. They will observe and look for clues what is clear and done well, what is vague and needs polishing as well as where the marks have been missed and need to be rethought and redesigned in order to clearly teach multicultural competencies. All of these will be given in written form and used as basis to refine the content.

Why are the pilots so important?

More than a 100 professionals are planned to participate in the 2 pilots. This is especially important as each one of these professionals will be providing impressions from their own point of view as a professional as well as an individual, covering teaching at the higher education institution and mentoring in the working life partner institution for a range of professions – education, rehabilitation, health and social care. By piloting and redesigning content, e-Coach will offer content that relates to these professions, deals with contemporary issues in multiculturalism and addresses challenges that professionals will meet in multicultural environments.

Ready, steady, LogIn!

Merry Christmas


Christmas special: Cultural awareness in Christmas time

Merry Christmas! It’s a common sentence in December. But what is a “merry Christmas”? Is it about the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ, is it about Santa Claus and the presents he brings, about the decorated Christmas tree, about a big dinner together with family, is it a combination or is it about something else I didn’t mention yet?

To get an more extensive (Western or American) view about the meaning of Christmas you can click on this article. There you will find a collection of research done by several authors who observed different aspects of Christmas and how it reflects on different levels of society, behaviors, social and material bonds that are shared between individuals. Holiday depression is mentioned too.

What does Christmas mean to you? What pops up in your mind when you think about Christmas?

Within different cultures, there are many points of view about the meaning of Christmas and how to celebrate. Some examples are given to make you more aware that Christmas is not a definite concept, neither is the imagery that is present. Can you imagine Jesus being depicted as a colored baby?

If you would like to know more, please click on this article and read more about Christmas in Africa.

If you would like to see some more examples of how Christmas is celebrated around the world, click here.

In the well known (mostly American) Christmas movies, such as Home Alone, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Christmas is associated with cold weather and snow. But in the other half of the world, 25th of December is summer time as you can see from the picture below. You can also try it out by planning your next Christmas holidays Down Under!

christmas in summer

Read this article about a child’s Christmas in America[1]. To give you an perspective on the modern American Christmas celebration.

Some countries are worried about the widespread of this American Christmas[2] : ‘This article centers on the celebration of Christmas, the most important western festival, in the Chinese mainland to reflect cultural invasion from the west and provide approaches to cultural protection in China with the acceleration of globalization in 21st century.’

Can you imagine these worries?

Another example of globalisation of Christmas can be found in this article about Christmas in Japan[3]. A mix of KFC, Christmas ideology and Japanese cake together make another unique Christmas.

Hopefully, after reading the literature and watching the websites, you have a broader view on the celebration and meaning of Christmas. Now let’s quit this little lecture, go celebrate Christmas in the way you like the most (not celebrating, but happy with the free days included) and let’s respect the different opinions upon this subject. Be flexible and open-minded, keep it peaceful. If you want to know some more about strengthening your flexibility and open-mindedness, do not hesitate to check out our e-Coach Multicultural Competencies. More information on this blog.


[1] Belk, R.W (2004) A Child’s Christmas in America: Santa Claus as Deity, Consumption as Religion. Journal of American Culture 10 (1) pp. 87-100.