How the idea was born…
We came up with the idea for this project during two large trips we made in 2013. Delphine spent one semester in Ahmedabad (India) and Lina lived for one year in Madagascar. We both found out that the immersion into other lifestyles has changed our view of everyday life as well as the way we view other cultures. We got to know a completely new, sometimes beautiful and contradictory world with all its advantages and disadvantages. From these experiences the idea evolved to develop a teaching exchange program for schools. Therefore, the starting point of this project was the question: How can we connect and bring different cultures together? For our research we attended the ‘Freie Schule Braunschweig’ and interviewed children about their interests and their experiences with other countries.
•What do children learn about other countries in school?
•Are children interested in other countries?
•When or why are they interested in other countries or cultures?
•Would they be interested in taking part in an exchange-program?
During the interviews several children expressed their desire to become better acquainted with other countries. Lina’s sister Amelie (12 years) noted that there is no school subject in her school that focuses on foreign countries, its people, their culture as well as their everyday lifestyles. In addition, many respondents were interested in other countries with which they are for different reasons already connected to, such as through relatives, friends, traveling, or because of the nationality of their favorite goalkeeper.
Amelie: “I think it’s important to learn about other cultures because you cannot imagine how other people live …” “I think an exchange is important for the whole world in order to prevent wars from occurring.” Emma: “I’d like to learn more about my goddaughter Nadia from Nigeria, about her country and her family.”