Many years ago in Hannover, I was standing next to my Persian friend and overheard the following conversation:
Where are you from?
Persian friend responds: Hannover
No, I mean where are you from originally?
The nerve. My friend insisted that she was from Hannover. But the other person effectively conveyed the message: you are not from here.
Similarly the integration debate in Germany and the SVP sheep poster campaign (yes, it’s back) here in Switzerland are leaving their mark, in a negative way.
Alienating all the law-abiding, hard-working immigrants. For political gain.
The more you talk about the need to integrate, the more you emphasize that another person isn’t integrated. And instead of improving integration, it may cause more divide as people are made aware of differences.
Even if you just move from one neighboring country to another, there are loads of unwritten rules and ways to behave and differing politeness levels, that all the natives adhere to and you don’t know anything about.
The readiness to adapt is higher at the beginning.
But how will I learn if there is no contact? No way to interact? If fear increases on both sides? If i experience rejection?
It helps if
- i know what i believe in and where i come from.
- i am open to get to know others from different backgrounds and cultures.