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Intercultural summer in Warsaw

Intercultural summer in Warsaw

When many of Warsaviens leave the city for summer holiday, I like to stay in the city and enjoy Warsaw in summer. It is not only because of less traffic but because there is so much to see in the city.  In July is organized a French ball celebrating French National Day with delicious French music (modern) and many events at Francuska Street (French  street). This year I liked an idea of wall paintings of Polish and French symbols of both capitals. Let’s have a look of nice Tour d’Eiffel and Palace of Culture and Science and more. Since three years Festival of Lampions is organized in August in the Royal Park Łazienki  in Warsaw. For one month alleys in the park are decorated with Chinese lampions, symbols of Chinese culture like a dragon, a swan and a crane for children delight. The whole month different cultural events are organized – for example performance of Chinese Opera or a tea ceremony. For two months every day in the morning for 1,5 hour’s outdoor classes of Taichi quan are offered for free. It is a delight to do exercises in  a nature. Royal Park in Warsaw is a central place offering many cultural evens. Another one was an exhibition of Japanese contemporary art – modern poster, to be seen on hence of the park.  See some of them. Again contemplating the art on fresh air in the evening is an extraordinary experience. Last but not least concerts of Chopin music performed by international musicians were presented in the Royal Park on Sunday two times a day for whole Summer in front of Frederic Chopin monument on open air.  By the way the piano composer is regarded by French people as a French, as  his mother was a French.  It does not matter for me weather he is a Polish composer – Fryderyk Szopen (so is his name written in Polish language) or French one – Frederik Chopin. What really matters is his legacy that can be enjoyed by everybody. Greetings from still summer Warsaw, Wiola  See more photos of intercultural Warsaw summer All photos are made by Wiola Malota.        ...

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What I admire in Belgrade?

What I admire in Belgrade?

When I have got a mentoring assignment in Belgrade I was wondering how Belgrade is looking now, as I was there 20 years ago. At that time Poland was a communist country, and former Yugoslavia was for Poles a window for western world. So has seemed to me Belgrade. And how is it now? I find some artefacts typical for socialist countries – trolleybuses produced in Hungary, which were also present in Warsaw. I have walked and was looking for something to connect. And wow- I looked in the sky and have spotted amazing ceiling. When I visit a place I try to connect with it, finding something specific, amazing, extraordinary. It can be architecture, music, nature, people or just atmosphere on the street. In Belgrade I have found beautiful old building in art deco style. Belgrade has number of beautiful buildings, see below. Another connection I have felt when visiting in the evening the Frida restaurant. Delicious food, energetic music, and amazing decoration- especially in the bathroom. All below photos were taken in the bathroom. An last but not least – hotel were I stayed – hotel Moscow, with its ceilings, art. Deco windows and floor decoration in ancient style. Wonderful!  Enjoy! Wiola...

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University Collegium Civitas

University Collegium Civitas

On 28th o f March University Collegium Civitas has organised International Career Day. The event was organised by international students, studying at Collegium Civitas. One of the events in the program was the panel discussion “How to do it in Poland? Expectations and reality” with foreigners living in Poland who shared their stories about “How to do it in Poland” and recommendations for international students what they need to have or to do in order to start career in Poland.  I was invited to be a panel discussion chairman. It was amazing to hear the answers to a question raised at the beginning of the discussion “Is Poland open to foreigners who want to work in the country?”   All of foreign panel particpants –  from Italy, Japan, Maroko, Kenya, Switzerland  and  Turkey – shared positive opinions about opportunities Poland offers. An Italian enterprenuer has even told the Poland from “grey country, has tourned out to be great country to live in”.  All recommend to have  a long strategy for its career and life in Poland, to enjoy ups and downs, to treat them as a part of life. They underline an importence of building social network , as it works in Poland. Me as a panel chairmam was happy to facilitae such appreciative discussion about Poland, as it really confirms, we are not part of Europe but also global community.  ...

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What have POLAND and India in common?

What have POLAND and India in common?

This year there is a 60 anniversary of diplomatic and trade relations between Poland and India. The Polish Indian Forum discussing relations between both countries was held on the 20th of January in Warsaw at the Polish Chamber of Commerce. Representatives of Chambers of both countries have confirmed low level of trade and investments up to now. The Polish Ministry of Economy announces every year the „priority countries” in their promotion activities. This year India is among other 10 countries on the priority list, so there is a hope that the situation will change for better. Why is India a good trade partner? Indian market is huge and its potential is growing – population of 1,3 billion of people, 26 million of children born every year and Indian society getting richer and possessing large disposable income along with a third largest economic by GDP, there are good preconditions for economic development and power. If is so good, why the trade exchange between both countries are at such low level? In was quite funny, when during the session with Polish entrepreneurs investing in India and Indian entrepreneurs investing in POLAND, the answers for the question: which barriers and problems do you experience in cooperation with the host country, the same arguments were quoted. So Poles complain about infrastructure in India (low quality of roads, electricity not available all time, visa problems, burocracy and bribery. What do Indian entrepreneurs complain about investing and working in Poland? Low quality of roads (they compere Polish roads with those of Western Europe, visa problems, burocracy and bribery. And that Polish clerks do not speak English. So the list of barriers looks very similar, but on the Polish side is additionaly low level of knowledge of English. There is only one advantage of the fact that on the list are the same factors – when they are common for both countries, we know how to cope with them, we are more resilient for them and can find creative solutions. When Polish companies chose India to invest and not for example China, it is because of the fact that Indian are speaking English and there is no problem to communicate. The Forum’s headline was India –...

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Chinese cultural orientation: collectivism

Chinese cultural orientation: collectivism

Chinese cultural orientations You can recognize the cultural Chinese values even from poster and billboards. In an advert (no idea of what) my attention has been drawn by a sentence of „No skills, no dreams” (see photo). When I would formulate a sentence about a dream, it would be like this „When You have dreams, You can achieve them” or „Dreams are seeds of achievements”, just in an opposite way to this on the advert. A different way of thinking determines a different ways of acting. In order to understand the people’s behaviors, it is worth to know and understand the way the people from the given culture are thinking. Collectivism versus Individualism Another example of different way of thinking and behaving is a sentence on the billboard (see photo) as follow: „Love is work together. Love is never let go”. In Poland such a sentence would probably sound like „Love is a romance, love is an affection” as Polish people are very affective and emotional. In China, with collective orientation, where a wellbeing and a harmony of the group not the individuals is valued, such sentence is an exemplification of this cultural orientation. In Yangshuo I have spotted another billboard with a motto „Fire attached you and me, peace and happinness depend on all” being an example of such collectivism orientation and harmony. The different role of a group and an individual person in society reflect the notion of Individualism and Collectivism worked out by Geert Hofstede. Due to him „the fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people´s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We” (from www.geert-hofstede.com). In Individualist societies people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only. In Collectivist societies people belong to ‘in groups’ that take care of them in exchange for loyalty. With a score of 20 of Individualism (IDV) China is a highly collectivist culture where people act in the interests of the group and not necessarily of themselves. Poland with IDS of 60 (in scale of 100) is quite in the middle, with much higher individualistic attitude than China, but...

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What about POLAND?

What about POLAND?

Intercultural Poland First Sunday in January Polish people celebrate the day of three Kings, a new  religious holyday introduced since some years. On this day a ceremony commemorating the trip of three kings to Bethlehem is performed on the street of Polish cities. In organized walk of people there are actors playing the scenes form life of Jesus and historical figures from Polish history. This year I have spotted a figure of  Chinese dragon which sourly  has not been at the time of Jesus present in the area of his  living. I find it as very nice exemplification of intercultural approach of polish society (dragon in a catholic ceremony) and good direction in culturally and religious very homogeneous country. European Union has quoted latest statistic about the percentage of foreigners living in different countries of EU. Poland is on the last position in ranking with 0,01 % of population with not being a native. This is about 40 000 foreigners, so much as the number of football funs who arrived  at one time during Euro 2012 to Warsaw  for Championship. This number confirms  the claim about Polish society being culturally very homogenous. When we take into consideration the situation –low expose of Polish people to contacts with other cultures in everyday life and “cultural” heritage of years of cultural isolation during communism (from 1945 till 1989). I welcome every sign of Polish openness for different cultures. So my WOW for dragon in a catholic ceremony. This situation confirms also the high level of Hofsede index of  uncertainty avoidance, which in case of Poland is very high – and is at the level of 92 (the higest level is 112 for Greece). Due to Hofstede „countries exhibiting strong Uncertainty avoidance Index or UAI, maintain rigid codes of belief and behavior and are intolerant of unorthodox behavior and ideas. Weak UAI societies maintain a more relaxed attitude in which practice counts more than principles” (from Wiki English). High level of UAI means that the society tends to regard strangers more as a enemy than a friend, and this set of mind is represented in a approach to others – distrust, lack of openness, exclusion of others. Poland together with Greece being on...

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