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Workshop at Campus Jena: “What is culture?”

There is no doubt that “interculturality” is a large part of the Melton Foundation. Every day we experience the concept of interculturality, yet never know enough about the subject. Beginning with the cultures that are linked by the Melton Foundation, we want to learn about other cultures more and more. But how do we actually reflect our own culture? Are we even aware of what it means for Germans to be “German”, Chileans to be “Chilean,” or the Chinese to be “Chinese”?

The Melton Campus at Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany, recently held a workshop to find answers to these questions, and invited intercultural trainer and Senor Fellow Barbara Nietzel as a consultant. Through her long-standing membership in the Melton Foundation and her work, she has a lot of experience in the context of (inter) culturalism. In the workshop she shared her theoretical knowledge about “culture” with participants and provided them with access to scientific reflection on the concept of cultures. 

A theory-based approach to the subject was followed by an intensive examination of personal experiences with other cultures, but especially with the “own” culture. The workshop dealt with questions such as, “What is culture? What makes culture? How does perception change depending on one’s cultural background?”

We found that even in a small country such as Germany, everyone has their own culture. Culture is not always confined to national borders, it can also include individual aspects such as the individual’s socialization within their own family. These and many other exciting topics of conversation came up during the workshop.

In addition to the Melton Fellows, other students at FSU Jena participated in the workshop, creating a very pleasent and enriching experience for all participants!