Intercultural Learning and Education Systems
Abstract for Gristuf 2005 Student Festival
The topic “Intercultural learning and Educational Systems” is a familiar topic to me not as a source study though but because of the country I come from; that is Cameroon.
My experience on this topic stems from the fact that Cameroon is a Bilingual country with English and French as her official languages though with optional languages like German, Latin, Spanish, Pidgin and Arabic.
However, though a bilingual country composed of two distinct persons of different cultural backgrounds-Anglo-Saxon and Francophone, the country is also God’s Babylon on earth with about 247 different ethnic languages and traditions. It is possible in Cameroon within the walking space to 2 km to find persons and communities speaking a language their neighbors would hardly understand. This has been further enhanced by traditional beliefs and customs together with habits and religion
These cultures and traditions are widely acceptable as a form of learning and communication though not on official capacity and some at moment have been written and can be read from books e.g. Douala and Mungaka of the Bali’s. This is an embodiment of what today is studied in Cameroon as Cameroon history and to a larger extends African history. Cameroon is known today as Africa miniature.
We have great experience on this topic because the extended family type practice in Cameroon and open room for inter-marriages creates the forum for these exchanges which give one an insight into the diversity the world is hungry for. Also, as a student of history during my college life; I had the opportunity to study-Cameroon history and peoples, African history past and present, World Affairs and European and English History as well as the American history. This in summary gives me the insight to an extend on the topic .In the university; I had done a course on customary laws and the common law which gives you the difference between our native customs and the English common law system.
My vision for and after the festival is that, coming to attend the festival, I will bring along with me huge experience from my rich cultural background which I will impact to my colleagues from other countries and communities and in turn, will be able to learn from colleagues and participants on the happenings elsewhere ignorant to my knowledge.
With this insight, I will be able to communicate my experience when I return home not only with friends but with the university which may improve the school curricular. This will better enable us to be able to appreciate ones culture in seeing it as equal and not superior or under us. This will further enable me to be able to come out with a write up or research project which I cam make readable to those who could not participate.
My personal connection to this topic is centered on the fact that I am a living witness to the topic in relation to my country’s rich cultural background and the little knowledge I did acquire in school on other cultures of the world.
I feel my living experience as member of country pregnant with diverse cultures and tradition accompanied by about 247 different languages, habits and beliefs gives me the rich background to be invited to participate. This is because I have a whole lot of experience to share ranging from family issues to the national ones as well as differences and interpretation in cultural values and conflicts in cultures.
This experience has been acquired all the years as a result of my ability to know every corner of my country and what I could learn in school as a student of history. I do also have an insight into other cultures which gives me some advantage to be able to share and receive. Also, with a working knowledge in Crio, English, French and some small German, I feel I will have the ability to better communicate with others.
Also, I am a very social person who accepts criticism as well as criticize positively and can work genuinely and acceptably with any person irrespective of race, religion, belief and language.
I think I am fit and able to meet up the expectations of the Student Festival.
The motto of the student festival “Touch the World” to begin with, is first of all emotional and secondly appealing. When I first saw this motto, what immediately ran into my mind was the intention of reaching out to the world in an attempt to bring mankind more closely in an effort to better understand and accept one another in the spirit of brotherhood.
The emotional point in it is that it carries in it an appeal “Touch the World”. This means irrespective of nation, color, race and sex without discrimination.
To be honest, the motto is soul touching and serves as a true motto of togetherness and reaching out in an attempt to accept every person or group of persons as equal to the other.
This motto to me may be adopted by the United Nations relieve organizations as their working tool for sustainability.
Intercultural learning and Educational Systems:
1- Intercultural: To the best of my knowledge, intercultural means cut across cultures.
2- Learning: Our ability to be able to understand and appreciate putting ourselves in every situation we are called up to and be able to interpret what we have learned to others in the form of exchange of information.
3- Educational Systems: This goes to define the diversity in methods and approaches as to learning within a formal structure and plan base on the method.
4- Intercultural Learning and Educational Systems: This on its part can be interpreted to mean our ability of learning within our diverse educational backgrounds, knowledge and structures.
As I discussed within my opening sentence as to the topic sentence of this application, Intercultural Learning and Educational System to the best of my understanding can be treated into two separate parts
A, Intercultural Learning, and
B, Educational Systems.
A, Intercultural Learning:
The world is made up of people and nations of diverse background and cultures. Though some do have similarities, others are totally different from the others ranging from language, habits, food, beliefs and customs. While a majority of the world’s population can better communicate and learn in English, it does not deprive them of their mother tongs and other official languages. That is while a German who speaks English does not turn him into an English man and a Cameroonian who speaks French does not make him a French man. Though a German and an English man may as well speak and write English, they are completely different in terms of culture, behavior and reasoning.
This is why, a French man should learn about a Spanish man to be able to understand and appreciate the disparity in their cultures. In learning about the other, gives either of them the advantage to better appreciate and accept the other without making reference as to class or superiority. This goes same with the cultures and habits of the Developed world and those of the less developed world. The thinking at first that the black man live on trees and wear only leaves in the 20th century has been gradually eradicated by the west as a result of exchange programmed and coming closer by both communities to better understand and appreciate the other. This statement can be validated with the numerous programmed that have been shot by Europeans in Africa as well as Africans now studying in the West. Thus this brings the worlds community even closer and more appreciable. That is why it is said that ‘if you go to Rome, do what the Romans do’ and not what you feel they should do. This is because no culture is considered bad or good in so far as it remains within the norms of societal behavior.
This thus gives us the advantage to learn, appreciate and better understand one another for the sole good of better development, cooperation and peace in the world.
B, Educational Systems are just a framework or milieu were this cultures can be learned
And appreciated by us in society irrespective of where we come from or our level of education. We know each country has its prescribed format and structure of education base on her culture and environment. But this does not stop us from going beyond to look and examine what we do not have so as to be able to open up and not look on ours as superior.
This is why room has been given for specialization and exchange programmed amongst educational systems and establishment in view to breach the gap of ignorance or lack of information. This is why there is no educational establishment without foreign students and governments and organizations like spend more to unite the world’s children in a means to give them the opportunity to better understand and come in terms with the realities of life.
Cultural centers have been opened by governments and organizations in different countries as well as libraries and language courses offered so as to better inform the public on what is happening around the world. Even within our educational curricular, courses on African, American, European and Asia studies are being thought to give a better apprehension on the realities of the ground. Inter-marriages are going on as well as re-settlement and tourism including shot documentaries and films.
All these give us a better spectrum on intercultural learning and education system. However, to me, knowledge is better acquired and appreciated by traveling than in the class rooms and projects are better appreciated also than lectures in am phi theatres. Through working programmers like the one offered annually by ….., it gives participants a better sense of participation and learning and opens or demystifies any myth on this or that culture and on which education system is superior or best. To be honest with you, when I was young, I was made to know the Indians we banned from participating in the world cup football tournament because they use magic in the game by playing with 22 players instead of 11 players. Also that they played with slippers instead of the prescribed boots and score a goal in each of the 90 minutes of the match.
On my second topic Migration, I will say the topic is rather broad but I will try to make a summary by definitions.
1- What is migration: This is the movement of persons, animals, birds, fishes from their habitat to another or from one country to another in search of greener pastures.
2- Subsets of Migration:-
A- Emigration: when one leaves his or her country, he is an emigrant.
b- Immigration: When one leaves his country of origin and goes to another country with the intention to reside in that second country, he is considered an immigrant of that country
c- Transhumance: The movement of herd’s men with their cattle from one place to another in search for food and water or for the purpose of marketing their herd is known as transhumance.
d- These movements equally apply to birds and animals purposely in search for food or during mating seasons.
So we see that migration is too broad a topic but in looking at it’s definition, it started since biblical times before the coming of Christ BC when God ordered Moses to take the Jews out of Egypt, after Christ was born as He wondered from place to place to preach the word of God until today.
However, migration today is more of man made causes than natural causes as was before. War, conflicts, hunger and the search of better life is the order of the day today. This has cause reason for nations to fortify boarders, create passports and requires the use of visas so as to stem the large flow of persons especially from the less developed to the developed world.
Migration is not a new terminology and will always be there, but the negative part of it is that is not in two way flow. This may result in the complete exhaustion of the working force of some nations and may result in under population and extinction so reasons for it to be regulated.
This brings my memory to the topic ’Development cooperation-Global responsibility’ This is because if the worlds resources are fairly shared in terms of cooperation and developmental assistance to provide equal opportunities, migration might be minimize as people will migrate only if necessary and not just for the sake of migration as a result of underdevelopment.
Culture is what determines a peoples’ way of life, behaviors and the means of communication.
We I talk of way of life, I simply refer to the peoples habits and beliefs. Their behavior refers to how the react to situations, their level of perception, and way of doing things and how they communicate what they have perceived to one another using signs, symbols, view and language. (Verbal and non verbal communication)
Their way of life is greatly influence by their immediate environment in relation to food, dressing, terrain, and worship. How the look on non members of that community and their receptive attitude greatly define them as a community and gives them the sense of belonging.
In the world, there exist so many cultures and traditions and to make the world a better place to live in, these cultures should be translated as a gift which will enable us better understand one another without keeping aside our culture or qualifying one culture as superior to the other.
This diversity makes the world a better place to live in, rich in culture and covered with so much to learn from and appreciate as equal to us
By Julius Che
Den Haag-The Netherlands