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Cultural diversity: how diverse are we?
Start date: Jan 1, 2015, End date: Jul 1, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Culture and cultural diversity are topics of general interests, which are surrounded by several stereotypes and misconceptions. These ideas may be source of conflict between people of different nationalities and may discourage youngsters from traveling abroad. Our project aims at deconstructing such ideas to eliminate geographical barriers and help resolve actual and potential disputes. During the exchange participants will exchange on the best way to think about the impact of culture on our daily lives and the implications for intercultural dialogue. Its specific objectives are the following: 1. Discover the extent to which culture influences our observations and how observations differs across cultures. 2. Discover the extent to which culture affects our intuitions, and how intuitions vary cross-culturally. 3. Discover the extent to which culture influences our judgments and how our faculty of judgment varies cross-culturally. 4. Discover which are the aspects of our life that are most influenced by our culture, e.g. eating habits, recreational habits, abstract thinking, communication, ways of interacting socially. 5. Explore the link between culture and geographical location. For this project, a total of 20 youngsters from 4 different programme countries will gather in the PACA region of southern France. Through informal learning methods they will understand how to conduct investigations according to the experimental method, and will learn about its applications to the human sciences. Through group activities such as hiking trials, treasure hunts, quizzes, cooking workshops, role plays, they will explore the way culture influences some of our most fundamental practices. At the end of each activity, participants will have the opportunity to act as scientists by expanding existing activities or creating new ones in view of further testing claims about culture and cultural diversity. Moreover, they will actively engage in the preparation of the project insofar as they will be given the opportunity to shape its content. In fact, ahead of the start of the project they will be required to think of questions and issues they may want to tackle during the exchange. The coordinators , via the group leaders, will provide participants with the necessary resources to accomplish this task. Accessorily, participants will get to know one of the best preserved and most interesting natural spots of southern France, and experience communal life for a considerable period of time. All in all, we expect the exchange to be highly beneficial vis a vis participants self-esteem and their chances to succeed in their personal educational and/or professional projects. Other than the main activities around culture and cultural diversity, the exchange will also include sightseeings and recreational activities, such as sports and DIY. The groups which will be recruited for the exchange will be highly heterogeneous. We will include participants with fewer opportunities, i.e. youngsters dropping out of school, youngsters from difficult socio-cultural backgrounds, young people struggling to find an employment, and seasonal workers. Besides providing them with an exceptional opportunity to travel abroad, create a durable network of contacts and live an enriching experience in a multicultural environment, they will acquire useful skills and knowledge to attain their professional and/or educational objectives. They will also increase motivation to take up further studies or training, take part in future programs and strengthen their engagement with respect their sending organizations. In the long term, as a result of this project, we expect to witness greater cooperation among Les Petits Debrouillards PACA and the partner organizations for this project. We also expect to witness greater enthusiasm and interest of youth and local youth organizations at a regional, national and European level for mobility and educational opportunities sponsored by the Erasmus + programme.
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