Working in a desired field is important for the quality of one’s life. We choose universities according to personal wishes and attributes and enrol to perfect skills and competencies as well as acquire new knowledge to give our best at the workplace. A well performed job is of utmost importance in human services and provides a contribution to the community we live in.
Universities today offer programmes of further professional studies abroad; accessible travel services and accommodation provide the choice of prolonging our stay. Such programmes provide classes and practical placements to fully realize and apply theory and as such allow more profound learning of new skills and knowledge to apply in the workplace upon returning home.
Along with a prolonged stay offering a chance for better learning theoretical and practical skills, it also provides the opportunity to explore in more depth the culture we are coming in. All cultures have their history, monuments, art, way of life and customs, music and cooking – all different from ours. All this can be seen, tried, heard and tasted in the time between lectures, seminars or over the weekend and mini travels. Different can be very interesting!
As confirmation of this claim, we offer experiences of foreign students who spent one semester at the Education and rehabilitation faculty of the University of Zagreb. Except for participating in compulsory academic activities, the students also participated in everyday life in Zagreb and got to know a culture different from their own.
Magdalena, Erasmus student from Poland: Zagreb and Croatia itself made my stay a great experience. I travelled a lot around the country and had an opportunity to taste Croatian cousin, listen to Croatian music and experience a lot of openness which appeared to me as a Croatian general attitude. Wherever I was people seemed to be very happy to share their culture with me. I learned a lot about Balkans, the history of the conflict here and diverse attitudes towards the Homeland War. Zagreb as a city has definitely the biggest group of exchange students in Croatia which makes it easy to get to know people from different countries. The multicultural environment helped me to see my own culture in a new light and it widened my horizons.
Laura, Erasmus student from Finland: Zagreb is a great city for students! I’m glad I chose to live in a dormitory instead of a shared flat, because by living in students’ dormitory I’ve been able to experience how local students are living. Students in Finland have their own rooms so sharing a room for one semester has been a new experience for me. I think the tempo of living in Croatia is slightly slower than in Finland, and people don’t seem to be as stressed or they are just hiding it well. In my experience most people are open, helpful and warm. I love the café culture, because many Croatians are coffee lovers just like Finns. I’ve been lucky to have found many friends, both Croatians and other foreigners. In Zagreb there’s always something going on and staying at home is impossible. I’m really happy and grateful about everything I’ve experienced in Croatia and I would recommend Erasmus for everybody!
On these learning trips we meet people, talk, work together and through practice offer services to people belonging to another culture. This “gap” in cultures may mean that we don’t share (the same) attitudes and beliefs and that’s alright! These differences can bring misunderstandings in communication, behaviour, work and finally – embarrassing situations because of lack of knowledge which may undermine impressions that we carry on through life. However, this is where the challenge is!
Knowing there is a consciousness regarding different cultures and the decision to learn what are and how to successfully overcome these differences through acquisition of multicultural competencies is of the best decisions in life; understanding how to recognize and evade embarrassing situations is a great start! Think what motivated you to choose this calling and be sure that Soulbus offers a system of support so that you can in a simple an fun way learn about multicultural competencies and prepare yourself to provide better services anywhere in the world.