Promoting intercultural experiences

Posted on 3 December 2015

In the autumn of 2015, Department of Education appointed Jayme Scally as an International Community Co-ordinator - a new role created to ensure that masters’ students in the department have a full intercultural experience while studying at York.

Education must be not only a transmission of culture but also a provider of alternative views of the world and a strengthener of skills to explore them.

Jerome S Bruner

As a Department and as a University we are culturally diverse now and for the future. We are focused on creating a learning environment fostering excellent teaching and influential research. We recognise that even more could be done to build community out of our diversity, ensuring that the student body and faculty as a whole have a sense of inclusion and belonging.

Students are actively encouraged to interact with students from other cultural and social backgrounds, engaging with people who hold strongly different views of the world and showing openness to intellectual diversity in the classroom setting, in their own time and outside of their courses. However, students sometimes need help to make connections with those from other cultural and social groups. This is usually due to lack of familiarity of the cultural context or simply because they do not know anyone who could facilitate introductions with those different groups.

I wanted to learn new things about British customs and culture. When you live in the UK people expect you to understand the traditions, know what Christmas crackers and mince pies are - so I'm here to learn about these!

Xinyuan, MA TESOL

The role of the newly appointed International Community Co-ordinator is to enable creation of such connections in line with the global citizenship ideals, through facilitation of events and opening of communication channels between our largely international postgraduate students body (to include doctoral students at a later stage) and the Education Society.

Thus far, the activities have included several coffee and lunch meetings with a large number of participants from MA Education, MA in Global and International Citizenship and MA in Applied Linguistics programmes, which have allowed the students to get to know each other a bit better. Students are going on a highly anticipated trip to the Lincoln Christmas Market on Thursday the 3 December and a coffee morning is being arranged with the Education Society for the near future.

Students also meet by-weekly on Mondays, between 4pm and 6pm in the Education Common Room in Derwent College, to participate in the Culture Club – a platform designed to learn about British and English culture and customs. Topics covered so far included the English custom to talk about the weather and British festive traditions. Next time the Club will meet in January – please check with Jayme to confirm the exact date and location: Jayme.Scally@york.ac.uk, via Facebook or via WeChat at Jayme1905. To stay up to date with the events, students are invited to join the group Facebook page.

Jayme is in the final stages of completing her PhD in Education in the Department, researching the Development of intercultural competences of US Undergraduate students enrolled in various study abroad programmes in Spain.

She is a ‘Postgraduates Who Teach’ tutor on the Introduction to Disciplines of Education course, a Careers Assistant with our Careers Department and an active member of the Derwent College community.

Her previous experience is within higher education study abroad programmes, working in various institutions in the US and Ireland.

She holds an MEd in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt University and BA in History from Gettysburg College.