Handelslehranstalt Hameln - HLA held the first project meeting from December 11 to 17, 2016 entitled "How to know one's European culture". The students had to prepare on their own referring to their countries, their customs, their political systems, geography and topography of their home countries. Consequently factors were derived which influence a country / nation and its cultural development and which have visible effects (visible factors). Subsequently, the model of Geert Hofstede was used to work on the invisible factors of the participating countries (invisible factors), to look at similarities and differences and to discuss the question of a pan-European culture. The SuS dealt with their roots and "self-evidently" with their own culture and reflected upon that with others. Finally, further similarities and differences in countries were exemplified by means of "business etiquette" and applied during a formal dinner. All participants were asked to put the theoretically learned content (small talk, opening and acceptance speech, etc.) into practice.
All learning activities were characterized by a consistent student orientation. The participating learners worked on their assignments in multinational groups, presenting them in front of the entire group and reflecting together. In addition to keynote speeches, video training, role-playing games and simulations, discussions, work-sharing group work, presentations and other student-active methods were used.
All participants, both students and teachers, developed a deeper intercultural understanding and recognized the value of the diversity of cultures. They reflected their prejudices and stereotypes, as well as their personal and cultural communication. They overcame language barriers and reduced mobility fears. The students gained valuable experience for their professional and private lives and improved their labour market opportunities.
Curricula and syllabuses for the individual topics were developed, which can be used in all schools even after completion of the project. For this purpose, the procedures, methods and results were evaluated and critically reflected. So any school can adapt and change it to their needs. The future use of the materials ensures the sustainability of the project.
Of course, shared recreational activities, such as a visit to Hannover, sports and bowling were also part of the meeting.
Thus, in the end, all those involved agreed that, despite linguistic difficulties, strenuous project work and the one or other cultural misunderstanding, had a successful week.