Diary of the Festival: Gender stereotypes in media, “Bologna” educational reforms, volunteering in Europe and studying in the Nordic countries.

The European Intercultural Festival concluded with a series of lectures on “Bologna” reforms in higher education and possibilities of informal studies in Europe and Scandinavia. Among other events of this week are volunteering, struggling against gender stereotypes, basics of individual application for studying abroad.

For several years the Finnish expert Carita Peltonen has been studying gender stereotypes in mass media and advertisements of Denmark, Sweden, Finland and other countries. In her lecture “Women, men and media” she raised the issue of stereotypes that are imposed on society by newspapers, TV and Internet. According to Peltonen, nowadays mass media play a great role in the formation of behavioral stereotypes, and for the last years the attitude to female and male social roles in the society of Nordic countries has been significantly transformed. Nevertheless even in the Nordic countries the prejudices and old traditions for mass media coverage of female roles in politics and business remain strong. In marketing FMCG brand names also depend on gender stereotypes. But the Finnish researcher is sure that the conservatism of mass media towards the promotion of gender equality policy may be overcome with the course of time. Nowadays the Institute for Gender Equality, that was opened several years ago in Vilnius, is studying the gender problems in mass media.

Samuel Abraham, the rector of BISLA, a liberal arts college in Bratislava, Slovakia told about the downsides of “Bologna” higher education system, contradictions of European educational process and implementation of a new system of informal education “Liberal Arts”. This system is able to supplement successfully the Bachelor’s programme and make the educational process more flexible and less bureaucratic. According to Samuel Abraham, the ‘improvement” of education is vital for teaching staff of many universities, but this “critical” situation, as it may seem at first, indicates the new stage of development. At that students and teaching staff may freely use both the classic and innovation methods in education.

The volunteering within the framework of “Erasmus Plus” may also be considered an informal education. Due to this European programme today many Belarusian and foreign students and graduates have a possibility to take part in the work of the European Voluntary Service. Belarusian Youth Public Association “New faces” has been organizing the international exchanges, trainings, seminars, exhibitions for 17 years already. This week the representatives of the organization told about the possibilities of European volunteering for Belarusian students at the age from 17 to 30 years old. According to them, nowadays more often Belarusian students go to work as volunteers to Spain, Portugal, German, rarely – to the UK and the Nordic countries. The contents of work done by Belarusians are different: from the work with animals, eldercare and childcare to work in the field of media and tourism. The representatives of the “New faces” advised the students not to put off the search of suitable variants and plan in advance the application for participation. The nearest deadline is the 1st of October.

Within the scope of the European Intercultural Festival the representatives of the Swedish Institute in Minsk informed about the grants in higher educational establishments of Sweden. So the Master’s scholarship for Belarusians can make up 1,000 Euro monthly, for PhD researcher – about 2,000. An appropriate university and information about study and life in Sweden may be found here sweden.se and si.se. Before the application the candidate should have the certificate for English knowledge (TOEFL or IELTS). There is also an opportunity to get higher education in Finland and Norway. For more detailed information the Finnish web sites studyinfinland.fi and cimo.fi may be very helpful. The education in Norway is free and available in 8 universities and 19 university colleges. The application info may be found here studyinnorway.no and nokut.no. ducation programs of universities are available here uib.no, uio.no and folkehogskole.no.

This year the last day of the European Intercultural Festival coincided with celebration of the City Day in the capital of Belarus, Minsk. The street festival atmosphere was complemented by the pantomime live sculptures, musical concert and theatrical performances. Also during this week the winners of the four creative competitions of the Festival were chosen. The award ceremony took place in the “President Hotel” in Minsk.