With love… from Finland

We are five second year Bachelor’s Business Administration students at Novia University of Applied Sciences in Finland. The majority of the courses at Novia are project-based, which means that we gain theoretical knowledge that we practice in a project. This spring we participated in a course called Event Management, where we were given the opportunity to organize a webinar for CultSense on the forum SpatialChat.

Arranging the CultSense webinar was a perfect opportunity for us to use our theoretical knowledge in a practical way. Planning a regular event during Covid-19 seemed challenging, and at first, we were unsure how to plan a webinar but we tried out ideas among us that in the end led to this webinar. We invited students from the CultSense partner institutions and we had a mix of Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian, one Iranian student as well as Finnish students attending.

Project leader Lénia Marques opened the webinar and after that the participants mingled freely in the space, asking each other about positive and negative travel experiences. After the warm-up, the participants were divided into groups and moved between different stations, where they discussed food, spirituality and religion, how to be hospitable and body language in their respective countries. We acted as facilitators at the different tables. We were happy to see that there was a genuine interest to learn about other cultures. For us it was amazing to see that what we had planned in theory worked out well in practice.

Some feedback that we received from the participants was: “I really enjoyed the experience”, “I liked the atmosphere”, “interesting and well-structured” “the fact that it was interactive was good” felt rewarding to hear since we had been feeling more nervous as the webinar approached. We think that the last quote sums up the aim of the webinar well:

“These kinds of events reinforce the importance of intercultural awareness to avoid misunderstandings arising when people of different cultures communicate”.

We will hopefully remember this when we go travelling abroad again. In the end, we learned, not only about planning and realizing a webinar, but also about different cultural aspects that the other students presented. We would gladly do something similar again, either as organizers or participants. We want to thank CultSense and our teacher Maria Engberg for this opportunity and the experience.

Text by William Kemetter, Marija Pettersson, Andreas Ernvall, Filip Fagerström and Mikael Sandholm