In Spring 2014, Inga Milevica was awarded a micro grant funded by the Association for Business Communication. The following is her report.
The first and the main scientific-practical task of my project was to participate in an international forum and represent one of the private colleges of Latvia – Alberta College. The international forum “Socio-Cultural and Linguistic Aspects in Educational and Scientific Context” took place in Kyoto (Japan) at Kyoto Sangyo University from September 25-29, 2014. During the forum I presented my paper, “Naive Argumentation of Authority.” Colleagues recognized that they have similar problems (such as plagiarism, lack of knowledge of style, unwillingness to see the limits of text, ignorance of sources of information, glorification of online information sources). Also, I received an invitation from colleagues from the University of Ural publish my research the wider format (as part of a book). I gladly accepted this invitation. Thus, the first phase of the project has been very successful.
As a result of this trip, colleagues from many countries (including Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia) learned about my college. I received multiple invitations for cooperation between my college (Alberta College in Riga, Latvia) and national institutions from many countries on the following topics: foreign language teaching methodology, innovations of linguistic science, bilingual education opportunities and perspective, new paradigm of instructional theory, intercultural aspects of pedagogical activity, information technologies in education, and horizons of literature.
The second goal of my project was methodical planning. The partners in the forum included Kyoto Sangyo University (Kyoto, Japan), Middlebury College (Vermont, USA), University of Bologna (Bologna, Italy), Sangmyung University of South Korea (Cheonan, South Korea), Almaty Institute of Power and Communication (Alamty, Republic of Kazakhstan), International Centre of Scientific-Educational Platform of Interaction of Cultures (Yekaterinburg, Russia), and the Institute of Foreign Languages and Multimedia at University of Greifswald (Greifswald, Federal Republic of Germany). I was able to discuss important issues of cooperation (different forms of cooperation, the uniqueness of cooperation programs, the most successful and unsuccessful programs, etc.) with colleges from Japan, Korea, Kazakhstan, Russia, Germany and USA. The most successful are developing virtual forms of cooperation, many colleagues said.
My third goal in this project was educational enrichment. I teach students in Business in such courses as Communication and Ethics, and Corporate Culture. In these courses, themes of intercultural communication are greatly emphasized (with a focus on making contacts with foreign colleagues, partners, clients). I can say that I was lucky: I saw the careful attitude to the time, I saw the specifics of Japanese design space (at the university, in the hotel, as well as in the cities). Also, I watched the beginning of the Japanese builders‘ working day: they do some exercises and sing a song in a daily ritual that helps establish a working mood. Particularly interesting was listening to Japanese speech because their form of argument is different from that of Europeans.
In conclusion, I want to say thank you to both the Association for Business Communication and the Center for Intercultural Dialogue for this grant, which provided a unique opportunity in terms of work, as well as my personal and professional interests!