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Novosibirsk - An impression

Students from all over Russia, who mainly study in Novosibirsk, participated in a training on tolerance, democracy and discrimination when working with teenagers in Youth Camps. The composition of such an intercultural group made the training even more interesting for everyone. The understanding for tolerance and xenophobia was therefore even more intensive. The first part of the camp aimed to sensitize us and to reaffirm our understanding of living together with different nations and cultures. Difficulties and misunderstandings arise between people. An international group is prone to these problems while meeting the first time, which made our experience even more important for each one of us. In my opinion a key factor to the sustainable co-existence of different nations is the motivation to understand each other, respect someone else�s attitude and to be aware of his proper values.

All this we practiced and experienced through different interactive games during the workshop, when sitting together at the bonfire and singing songs, playing together on the beach of the Ob river, visiting a Cossack Camp, simply sitting together and telling jokes, etc.

During the second part of our trip we had the opportunity to apply our new knowledge and reaffirmed point of view on tolerance, discrimination, democracy and intercultural communication. We arrived at a youth camp, where 350 children lived for three weeks.

A group of local education science students, doing their practical experience, looked after and composed the program of activities for the children every day. Within the activities schedule space for individual, respectively socializing interests and general activities offered by the volunteers was considered. Our activities, consisting of a communication (Russian-English), discussion, journey and dancing workshop was part of the program. This balanced program of different activities allows teenagers to develop themselves - their skills - and incorporates them instead of excluding them in the design of the activities.

As the aim of the whole journey was an intercultural aspect the most important thing was to spend as much as possible time with the children - not only with them but foster exchange - together. Stressing this issue, it is obvious that our role was not only as an educator but also as an ambassador of our culture. As foreigners - Austrian, Germans, and Canadian - we were looked at even more accurately, resulting that our behavior was even more representative of our country. I would like to point out, that especially the time beyond the workshops - our free time with the children - was very important in promoting awareness of tolerance, discrimination, democracy and cultural differences. Talking to people that come from a different country with a foreign language - especially young people - prevents the building up of national barriers and later discriminatory tendencies.

Stephan Richter, 14th August 2006

� 1993-2003

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