Agriculture and Tourism In Slovakia

The purpose of this visit was to look at agriculture and tourism in Bratislava and surrounding areas in preparation for agricultural study visits in 2016.

Slovakia is a central European country known for its dramatic natural landscape and many castles. The alpine like region of the High and Low Tatra mountains are a popular tourist attraction for hikers and climbers all over the world.

The capital city, Bratislava sits on the Danube river with Bratislava Castle on the hill overlooking the city. Bratislava city is less than one hour from Vienna, Austria. The small Carpathian region is famous for its wine production where the most famous producers of top-class Slovak wines are based.

The programme included a visit to a unique farm with sheep breeding, sheep cheese production and beef animal export across Europe. Traditional music and craft demonstration. A walking city tour of Bratislava, the UNESCO Banska Stiavnica with short falconry show, a tour and workshop in a ceramic factory and tour of a modern winery. The visit also included inspection of hotels and restuarants available for group visits.

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Meeting & Greeting International Visitors

Our visitors now come from right across the world and when you’re working in the tourism industry it’s important to know how to receive international visitors to your region.

We all of exceptions of how we like to be treated when we are visitors and I am sure we have all experienced disappointment at how we were treated when abroad. Quite often the disappointment was due to differences in culture in meeting and hosting visitors. This workshop helped those in the frontline on the tourism industry to look at how the different cultural ways of meeting and greeting. First impression count!

A satisfied customer will return and will spread the word and word of mouth is one of the best recommendation for any business.

The workshop looked at how to consider different cultural perspectives in:
Greetings, names
How to be clear in communication: Plain English signs, information, rules and regulations
The impact of volume, tone of voice, pace of speech and different interpretations of smiling, emotion, humour
Perceptions of status, role and gender
Personal space, eye contact
Dress and appearance
Direct and indirect communication
Listening: active and non active
Time: decision making, meals, arrival & departures

European Network of Women from Rural Areas (ENWRA): Project Findings

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The purpose of this two year funded project through Grundgtvig Lifelong Learning was to look at the issues that face women finding employment or setting up their own business in rural areas. The project partners from Spain, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Germany, Cyprus and the UK took part in study visits hosted in each of their regions to explore the common issues facing women seeking employment in rural areas, how the problems had been addressed in each region and to share best practice that could be transferred to other regions. Continue reading

ENWRA European Network for Women from Rural Areas: Project Meeting Poland 18 – 21 June 2015

The study visit in Poland was the final meeting of the ENWRA project signifying the end of the 2 year project which looked how women create businesses in rural areas. This study visit was planned to coincide with the midsummer festival which is a festival recently created by the women in the area to celebrate not only the longest day in the year but the traditional crafts, music and dance of the area.

The meeting began when participants from Spain, Turkey, Germany, Spain, Cyprus and N Ireland arrived in Krakow on the 18 June 2015. The next morning the participants walked to the main square and the old covered market before leaving for the rural area of Krzeszowice. The group met with the Mayor before receiving a presentation which gave an overview of the region. Various women spoke to the participants about their work in the rural area, much of it was run on a voluntary basis to support women living with cancer and support parents of children with disabilities. The next few days provided participants with the opportunity to meet women and see the range of crafts and businesses they were involved in.

The meeting ended with the midsummer festival. A spectacle of music, dance and a parade of lights to the lake for a fire show. The women helped to prepare traditional flower garlands which are work for the parade.

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International Projects

Training was delivered to a UK/ Ireland organisation who were working will colleagues across Europe. Some meetings were held online while others took place face to face. Both these types of meetings have their own protocol which is influenced by the cultural protocol for conducting meetings. The training explored intercultural communication skills to understand how culture impacts and influences how business meetings are is conducted, how decisions are made and how agreement is reached.

Intercultural competencies are now essential for business success as we work with colleagues and clients with different cultural working practices. Teams are increasingly working with colleagues from different cultures and it is important that Team Leaders and Team members come equipped with intercultural skills and knowledge.