Our department of social projects puts its main focus on a project called ‘Global Education‘, with the major task of introducing intercultural communication and a social, open minded discourse about diversity into the everyday schedule of participating classes in Vienna.
The project is based on a cross-cultural learning approach. By inviting students from all over the world to teach children at the age of 6-10, it spreads awareness about different cultural topics, such as cultural diversity, sustainability and world issues. Currently, we have three Viennese primary schools participating: the Josefinum Volksschule, OVS Zeltgasse and VS Kaisermühle. The projects last 6 weeks, in order to create trustful evolving relationship between students and school children.
The aim is to opt for a playful learning environment, where children can get involved with social world issue topics that are normally not taught in school, and to teach them about tolerance and the beneficial aspects of cultural diversity.
A sample showed us, that most children at this age have already been confronted with racism, social exclusion and prejudices of differnet kinds. This makes clear, how important it is, to raise the question and discussion about cultural diversity, especially here in Vienna, where many immigrants from our eastern neighbors have found a place to stay and to raise their children.
Our main goal is for the children to experience cultural diversity as something enriching and positive, as an endless source of learning opportunities and a way to connect with people from all over the world. As the lessons are taught in English, the children will simultaneously experience improvement in their language skills.
On the other hand, the incoming students get the chance to get to live and work in another country, with a different culture and unknown traditions. Those experiences are the ones that help to boost their personal development the most. Therefore the project is not only a rewarding opportunity to help children gaining knowledge in important world issues, but as well a chance to get out of the own comfort zone and improve the know-how in multicultural interaction.
There is the possibility for everyone to get involved and become part of Global Education. One of the best possibilities to do so is by becoming a host family and accommodating an incoming student for the duration of the project. It is a unique opportunity to get in contact with a new culture and new traditions and to enjoy the diversity that the world offers right in your own home.
As we are always striving to improve our projects and to implement new strategies we are now working on a collaborating with non-governmental-organizations, to provide the students with a lager pool of opportunities. Moreover we also hope for the students to get the possibility to get involved, not only in the teaching process, but also in afternoon activities for example in youth clubs, in order to reach even more children and to build an even stronger base for an ongoing learning experience.
Author: Sara Balitzky