Hochschle Koblenz University of Applied Sciences, Germany.
Spring semester, April – June 2018.
diversophy® is honored to support RheinAhrCampus students and lecturers who bring together refugees, Germans and International students at Hochschule Koblenz university.
The first events of the program were conducted at RheinAhrCampus in Remagen by Dr. Laurent Borgmann (senior lecturer at Hochschule Koblenz), who works regularly with refugees as part of his intercultural teaching, and Katherine Denning, his US American student assistant. The playing of the diversophy® Germany was embedded into social evenings during International Week on campus.
Between 15 and 40 refugees attended the card games and mixed happily with the international students and the local Germans. Some were surprised how quickly the diversophy® cards brought up cultural questions which they had never asked themselves before. The Germans were no less impressed because some discussions around the cards revealed an outside view of the Germans which they had not expected. “At my table we had a situation where suddenly both, the refugees and the international students (whether from Kosovo, Africa or India) were convinced that Germans are not as cleanly as people in their home countries”, reported Dr. Borgmann after the second event, “and the ensuing discussion showed that this impression is caused by some Germans keeping their shoes on when they enter each other’s homes”.
The selection, local adaptation and translation of the cards was integrated into the seminar “International Business Simulations” where students from more than 10 nationalities select a social intercultural cause in their region and work on it together during the semester in order to have an impact on society.
Here is how Kathrine Denning describes the experiences of the diverse groups of participants:
The cards and idea behind the game were very beneficial. It was a time to get away from our daily routines and focus our energy on something worthwhile. Even though the first version of the cards were a bit complicated for some of the participants, we managed to generate a feeling of community.
In addition to the refugees and locals from the Remagen area, at least one third of our participants were international students, so we often were comparing our own culture with a variety of other cultures.
We felt that our biggest success was that the migrants felt very comfortable coming into our university, which is typically a big step for them. We predict that once they become aware of our university, we can inspire at least a few to enroll as full-time students.
We would like to thank diversophy® again for the change that we were able to create by playing the game together; everyone was already noticing the difference within ourselves during the debriefing and discussion session. We tested the original cards in what we called a “test event” where we attracted a group with about 40 people. We broke into four groups, and each group had a facilitator to help the refugees read the cards. Overall the environment was very professional, yet friendly.
Thank you, Katherine and Laurent, and thank you to the organizers of the seminar “International Business Simulation”, for commitment and dedication. We are looking forward to our further collaboration and developing the German migrant diversophy® deck.