As the world becomes more globally connected – through travel, migration, and basic awareness of the world – cultural education and understanding becomes even more essential.
In autumn of 2018, I had the pleasure of working with a new program from the Estonian Institute called Culture Step, helping to educate and connect foreigners to local traditions and cultural character. Culture Step is open to any foreigners living in Estonia, both newcomers and longer-term immigrants who do not yet feel integrated into society. The program includes a series of field trips and organized events, which are free for registered participants and funded by the Integration Foundation.
/en/file/culture-step-wind-sculpted-landCulture Step: Wind-Sculpted Land
- historical tours including local legends and ghost stories
- Estonian films and Q&A with the directors
- visiting the Estonian National Museum for the Finno-Ugric folk festival
- hiking through the Pääsküla Bog
- a traditional hand bell concert
- behind-the-scenes tours of Estonia’s oldest bread factory
- a reading with writer Indrek Hargla at the Estonian Literature Information Centre
- visits to the Estonian parliament and Estonian Television
- a lecture on winter holiday customs and traditions
- a graduation ceremony with traditional Estonian folk music and dancing
This placement was part of the International Master in Adult Education for Social Change (IMAESC) program, where lectures and academic coursework focus mainly on the theoretical side of adult learning. Practical placements allow us to observe how educational theories interact with real-life environments. Some of my observations are collected below.
/en/file/cultural-education-theoryCultural Education in Theory
(For a higher-resolution version of this infographic, click here)
Culture Step is the first program of it's kind in Estonia. I would be really interested to hear if there are similar programs in other European countries. If you know of cultural learning projects in your area, feel free to comment below or get in touch!
Auburn Scallon is a travel writer and guidebook author with a background in English-language teaching, educational materials, social media, and marketing. She is currently pursuing an International Master in Adult Education for Social Change through a consortium between the University of Glasgow, the University of Malta, Tallinn University and the Open University of Cyprus. Auburn has lived in seven countries across three hemispheres, and is passionate about respectful, ethical approaches to cross-cultural learning.
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