Cherishing the aim of exposing young people to diversity and create tolerance towards differences among individuals of all sorts from background, races, and nationalities, RT team’s Bridges, Not Borders hosted a virtual cross-culture exchange program between Bangladesh and Tajikistan. This was a three-week-long program with two sessions per week with 1st week being orientation and workshop week. The two sessions consist of a formal meet and greet, ice-breaking sessions where participants from both countries had a pleasant time knowing each other and about what the program will offer in the upcoming weeks. The event started with the orientation session on 12th March 2021.
2nd week’s sessions which were the main highlight of the whole event happened on 19th and 20th March respectively where all the participants presented idiosyncratic cultural heritage, lifestyle, peoples, and many more aspects throughout the video and slide presentation. Participants also made a presentation on their recommended books, films, places, etc for each other. Everyone was humble and had an ongoing constructive conversation about the presentation which made this 2-week session the most interactive session of the whole program.
And later in the 5th session, the concept was swapped and the participants had to present a creative piece based on any topics like paintings, digital art, animation, writings, poetry related to the converse team. The way each participant represented the opposite team’s culture and traditions was truly marvelous. This session marked the unity we created throughout the program and emphasized the creativity of each individual and enlightens one’s worldviews as a well-balanced world will accept different opinions and reduce fears towards differences. On 27th March which was the very last session of the event is the one where everyone truly thoroughly enjoyed the session. The last day of the session was arranged that reflects a cultural night where each individual displayed their talents. The participants left no crumbs left to exhibit their creative skills with some sharing their self-written poems or others showing their singing skills & also one participant shared a parody song that had recipes of some Tajikistan famous food. There was indeed no lack of entertainment. But due to the short timeframe, the whole program had come to an end with participants expressing and sharing the precious experience that they had throughout the program.
The virtual cross-cultural exchange program has provided young people an incredible and rare opportunity to not only gain insight into a very different culture but to practice their skills in effective communication, lead a conversation with a respectful mindset, and most importantly giving & receiving various opinions. The participants learned a lot about not only other cultures but also gain a deeper insight into their own respective cultural heritage. The participants have eventually created a beautiful bond and friendship through this program maintaining both inclusivity and diversity.