The IB18 group was represented this year by fourteen students from Russia, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Mali, Zambia and Finland. The Fair, which is part of the curriculum in International Business, involves preparations in theory and practice with a combination of contact lessons and independent study worth five credits.
The general objectives of the study unit are for the students to become familiar with various cross-cultural theories, principles and elements of intercultural communication, and primarily international teamwork. These theoretical subjects in the form of workshops, excursions and lectures prepare the students to critically understand cultural differences and the individuals behind the cultures, to work as team and as the ultimate result to implement an event together.
The International and Multicultural Fair also provides the first year IB students with an environment and occasion to demonstrate their oral and written English language competence as part of their studies in the overlapping English at Work study unit.
During the Fair day the organizing group IB18S showcased the cultures of their national countries in multiple ways featuring the theme of business etiquette around the world. A relevant topic in both global and glocal context.
The beautiful brochures about good business manners in respective countries, the skillful DIY deco in the lobby, and the interesting artifacts, self-crafted flags, ornaments, and photos on the country stands attracted a fair amount of passers-by to pop in, to ask questions or just to have a peek.
Several nursing, forestry and business students had an integrated English language or multicultural assignment to be completed in the Fair.
The organizing group of the Fair revealed and shared their talents through music performances, inspirational speeches and enlightening presentations. Each individual contributed to the relaxed and international atmosphere of the Fair enabling entwining of English language learning, multicultural skills, and perhaps most importantly encounters between Finnish and foreign students. This is something that is constantly mentioned as a development need in the feedback of both national and international students.
Students seem to want to have more study related opportunities to get to know each other and share their knowledge and skills.
The International and Multicultural Fair, featuring business etiquette around the world 2018, was a success in many ways and the IB18S received merely positive feedback for their efforts and energetic presence.
The following day the group gathered to a “debriefing” session over a cup of coffee in the campus cafeteria. In the discussions and reflections it became evident that the students had learnt even more than they had initially expected. The challenging event planning process that had started three months earlier had taught the individual students above all about teamwork and cultural diversity, resilience and learning by doing together.
The group had also gained a fair amount of knowhow on event planning and marketing and they had learnt the ABC’s of organizing an event. Most of all they had learnt how to work as a group. Despite the fact that they all came from different backgrounds, they had found themselves being determined and pursuing towards a common goal.
According to the students, it will certainly be useful to have events like this every year. In their opinion, because of the International and Multicultural Fair, they became closer to each other and stronger as a group. All objectives in the curriculum were met with flying colours. Learning happened and competences were demonstrated spiced with some excellent team spirit, a lot of laughs, and fun.
Congrats and thanks go to Nelli, Halsey, Eric, Kennedy, Maria, Vart, Mark, Alex, Long, Niia, Nissan, Nassira, Sushma, and Sewon for making the Fair happen and for having an ever so positive attitude towards learning and life even in the midst of darkness and ice outside.
The joint event report that the group wrote as a collaborative writing task to wrap up the entire semester, served as a source of information and feedback to even further develop events like this to happen more often. The advice and experiences that the group reported will be appreciated as hopefully a new group sets to make the International and Multicultural Fair happen again in 2019.
A direct quote from the IB18S group to their future IB peers seems appropriate here:
“Dear future IB students,
It is a pleasure for us to share our experience with you and give practical advice. First of all, it is important to mention that you do not have to be perfect. Learn from your mistakes and be persistent. You should always remember to respect your teachers and set deadlines. Work as a group and divide responsibilities and tasks equally. Do not forget that time goes past faster than you can even imagine, so do everything in advance, not the day before. For us this is only the beginning of our journey and you will hear more about us in the future.” (students from IB18S)