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.
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:
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
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
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.
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.
It’s funny how a simple act like offering and taking tea can reveal so much about your culture. Here in N Ireland we have our own tea ceremony! Firstly, if you’re offered a cup of tea, even if you really want one, you’ve got to refuse at least twice! It’s important to show your host that you don’t want to inconvenience them or in N Irish terms ‘put them to too much trouble’ The offer, refusal, offer refusal has it’s own linguistic gymnastics captured perfectly by Mrs Doyle, famous for her tea making, in ‘Father Ted’ “You’ll have some tea… are you sure you don’t want any? Aw go on, you’ll have some. Go on go on go on go on go on go on go on go on GO ON!” Even if you don’t want tea the chances are you’ll get one anyway. If you’re in a cafe then there’s a whole different protocol over who pays! Again Mrs Doyle shows it off perfectly in this clip and it is only slightly exagherated!
At the end of April 2015 a group of students and their teachers from Escola Secundária de Oliveira do Bairro visited London to develop their English language skills and to explore British culture. Before their visit the students prepared for their visit by researching some of the famous sites in London and each day helped to plan which sites to visit. The group arrived the weekend of the London marathon and walked from the Tower of London to Westminster. As well as sightseeing they were able to see the first runners and to cheer the runners near the end of their run making their way to the finish line at Buckingham.
The students visited the Tower of London, saw HMS Belfast, a former Royal Navy cruiser from the 2nd World War and the Mayor of London’s famous glass building and the 87-storey Shard. They walked past the famous Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Golden Hind, which circumnavigation the globe between 1577 and 1580, captained by Sir Francis Drake. After crossing the Millennium Bridge the group had a picnic lunch before visiting St Paul’s Cathedral and back to visit the Tate Modern Art Gallery. The group enjoyed learning the the nicknames of some of the new modern buildings in the city area including the ‘cheese grater, ‘the walkie talkie’ and the ‘gherkin’.
One of the highlights for the students was the see the London Eye and ‘Big Ben’ at the houses of Parliament where they watched the end of the marathon some very exhausted runners, some running in fancy dress. The group ended the day seeing Trafalgar Square before visiting China Town.
The second day started with a visit to the Natural History Museum with exhibits on animals, plants, geology, paleontology and climatology. One of the most famous exhibits is a 105-foot (32 m) long replica Diplodocus carnegii skeleton, situated within the central hall known as ‘Dippy’. The most enjoyable are the sate of-the-art interactive exhibits especially the roaring T-Rex in the dinosaur area. Then a trip to Harrods before Buckingham Palace, a walk through Hyde Park before reaching the popular Oxford Street for some souvenir shopping. In the evening the group walked along Regents Street then back to Piccadilly for dinner.
ENWRA is a trans national project exploring the issues women face in rural areas with partners from Cyprus, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Poland, Turkey and the UK.
The project started in October 2013 with the first meeting in Spain. This purpose of this meeting in Cyprus was to review what had been achieved during the project before the final meeting and visit takes place in Poland in June 2015.
One of the main tasks was the development of a website to share the activities undertaken by the partners during the term of the project. The ENWRA website provides background information to the project, the work plan and meetings that took place in with newsletter and pictures.
Video of Cyprus
Meetings and visits to other project partners take place on the following dates:
Spain 9 – 13 October 2014
Cyprus: 6 – 9 February 2014
Northern Ireland 4 – 8 June 2014
Hungary 1 – 4 August 2014
Turkey 9 – 13 October 2014
Germany 10 – 14 December 2014
Cyprus 29 – 31 March 2015
Poland 19 – 22 June 2015
This project is funded under the Lifelong learning Programme. Disclaimer: “ This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”