Global Partners in Education Journal, Vol 5, No 2 (2015)

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How to Reduce Stereotypes: Intercultural Communication in Volunteer Work Camps

Alla Leonidovna Nazarenko, Ludmila Sizykh, Adelina Bilalova

Abstract


International volunteer work camps are places where people are united by one goal.  Volunteers have to communicate on a daily basis as they live together and are involved in practical work projects. In late 2013, Adelina Bilalova (a 4th year student of Lomonosov Moscow State University, LMSU, Russia), participated in the Global Understanding course.  The aim of this article is to share how the intercultural communication skills obtained by her in this course facilitated her work at her first volunteer experience in a work camp in Senftenberg, Germany, where she volunteered for two weeks. As a student in the Intercultural Communication Department at LMSU, she wanted to obtain some scientific evidence to support her hypothesis that during interactions between representatives of different cultures, by getting to know each other, people can easily abandon their prejudices and stereotypes of other cultures and obtain skills for multicultural communication.  Everyday communication with peers eventually leads to discrediting many myths (i.e., negative stereotypes) related to various countries. Eventually, this can promote a better understanding of modern life in a multicultural world of which Russia is a significant part. 


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