Being in a foreign country, with unfamiliar customs, food, amenities and weather can be quite an experience. However, when you take the time to talk to someone local, really talk to someone, you get the chance to enhance (or deepen) your experience abroad. While talking about general topics you both relate to, you get the chance to find out how someone’s background, culture or upbringing has influenced one’s (including your own) opinion and way of thinking. Furthermore, you will be able to inspire and learn from each other, while trying to view the world through his/her eyes. As a result you can discover how different or similar you really are.
This Dialogue Blue Print aims to provide you with some basic tools and ideas to help you have a meaningful dialogue with someone local while being abroad. Good luck and most of all have fun!
Tips for your dialogue with a local
Try to find someone to talk to who’s roughly in the same age range as you are. Choose someone who inspires you, gives you energy and from whom you think you could learn something. Maybe it’s someone you can relate to or (possibly even better) someone you don't understand very well.
Beforehand, think about the topics you want to talk about. If possible, write down some questions. When you have the opportunity to talk to someone more often, you could try to focus on a different topic everytime you talk. Keep in mind that you are aiming for a dialogue in which you both share opinions rather than an interview where only one person answers a list of questions.
While having your dialogue, look for and discuss similarities as well as differences. Try to focus on why someone thinks differently than you do, or why your opinions are not that different at all. Discuss your own and his/her motives and arguments but don’t focus on who’s right or wrong (as there is no such thing)!
Take notes during your dialogue or, if possible, record your conversation (e.g. use your phone for audio/video recordings).
Picking a good (universal) topic to talk about enhances the meaningfulness of your dialogue with a local person. By choosing a suitable theme you’ll kickstart a real conversation. As a result you will have the opportunity to get to know and understand eachother much better. This is much more interesting than just learning about someones siblings or favourite animals. A few great topics to discuss are outlined below, including some more specific questions. The questions are for you both to answer.
Being a global citizen means that you see the world as a unified system and feel a responsibility to view the interests of individuals with the overall needs of the planet in mind. You could express this by buying fair food, not wasting water, recycling, sharing your opinion on global issues, donating to charity etc.
Do you consider yourself to be a Global Citizen? Why?
What does Global Citizenship mean to you both?
How do you both contribute (daily/weekly/monthly) to a better, more equal or sustainable world?
What are the similarities and what are the differences between what both of you do daily/weekly/monthly?
When you first met did you think you were very similar or very different? How do you feel about that now?
How do you inspire others with the activities that you do?
What talents/skills* do you use to do these good things?
Personal (skills/talent) development
What are the things you have learned from your (volunteer) work and how do you use these skills*?
What have you learned from eachother?
What kind of skills/competences would you both like to learn still?
How would you like to develop these skills/competences*?
What would you do with these skills* or where would you use them?
What are you proud of? Is that different or the same for you both?
How do you help others with your skills*?
What inspires you? Which song, movie, book? Why?
*skills could for example be: being observant, a good listener, flexible, analytical, showing initiative, showing respect for different cultures
Millennium development goals
What are the differences and similarities between how you both think about global issues (such as climate or equality)?
Discuss which millennium development goal (linkje) you think is most important for your own country?
Which Millennium Development goal do you consider most important globally?
How do you personally contribute to reaching a millennium development goal (this could be more than one)?
How much do your friends and family know about the Millennium Development Goals?