The current issue of The List has been taken over by the youth. You better hurry up to read it as we’ve already started working on the next one! In the meantime, enjoy Magalie and Klaudia’s article on communication and cultural differences. Magalie and Klaudia are 15-years old students at Rosenborg School.
Words by Magalie Baardsen and Klaudia Ciszewska
Howdy! Cześć! Bonjour! Agent Magalie Baardsen and Klaudia Ciszewska speakin’.
Today we’re on a mission to share our thoughts on communication, the experiences we’ve had, and how different from our homelands things are for us in Trondheim.Being from Poland and Cameroon we have certainly noticed some differences. Trondheim welcomes students and immigrants from many places, but you can notice some differences. Especially when you are from another country.
First and foremost, there is not much racism or hate towards different people – different as in Ethnic groups – among the folks of Trondheim. Despite the contrasts in skin color everyone is treated equally. Diversity is very important to everyone living in Trondheim and makes the population richer.
Of course it was never said that there is no racism or hate in Trondheim; one can see that discrimination does exist here, but then again, there is no place in the world that doesn’t have hate. Hate is an easy feeling to get after all.
We were brought up in our homelands with very different morals and thoughts than our Norwegian classmates. For example, Magalie’s country of Cameroon is well known in Africa for being welcoming towards other Africans. They have a different concept of “foreigner” and in their view anyone that starts a life there is a Cameroonian; even without the papers to show it. However it becomes a little more complicated if you look a bit different (different as in white). They tend to judge one’s financial situation and personality by the skin color. Nevertheless, Indians, Chinese and Middle Eastern people aren’t rare sights if you go to certain cities.
In Poland however, Klaudia’s country, it is very different. People are brought up with a very different disposition. There is a rather high level of discrimination; there is no acceptance for immigrants most of the time, but it doesn’t mean that Polish people aren’t welcoming. It is like that because there are few immigrants in Poland, unlike in Norway wher seeing a person of another race isn’t something strange. It doesn’t mean that there’s no discrimination. Poland and Norway are two different countries. When Klaudia moved to Norway she could feel it and, it was something new to her.
In Norway teenagers and children grow up with people from different skin color and cultures. Therefore, one can see the different mindset of a teen from Cameroon, a teen from Poland and a teen from Norway. The first difficulty you meet when coming in Trondheim, is naturally the language. We all understand that we cannot just live in Norway without speaking Norwegian. We immigrated here knowing that. We must learn it one way or another, even though it is hard and takes time!Communication is extremely important for humans. Without the capacity to communicate relationships cannot be built. Without relationships isolation is inevitable. Isolation can lead to loneliness, but what is certain is that the humankind is not a lone race. It lives in big groups called communities and needs interaction. Communication is so important that humans cannot live without it (I am not human btw. I am a Unicorn). Not speaking Norwegian creates the language barrier that prevents people from communicating, in other word, interacting, in better words, building relations: be it of friendship, love, or hate.
It is human nature to want to communicate. It is the easiest way to express feelings and send a message across. It is with communication that we share knowledge. And people often feel the urge to interact and share. That is easier to do by speaking. Although when someone really wants to say something, he will always find ways to get rid of the language barrier. Talking is not the only tool of communication. When Klaudia first came to Norway, her friend could speak neither English nor Norwegian. Thus they had to find other ways to send messages across. She had to try to make her understand what she was trying to say by showing her signs with her hands or make strange movements. They interacted this way for a month and stayed friends until they finally learned a common language to communicate easier.
Many people don’t have the capacity to talk. Sometimes it is physically, sometimes it is mentally. Yet, they found ways to communicate: sign language, writing or even through art. On the other hand, when you know how to talk, you may sometimes find these other forms of communication quite hard to use. And in the end, most of the time, it crashes. Everything depends on the environment one has grew up in, the environment one lives in and the types of adaptation one has to make: states of mind, ways of seeing things, thoughts on things, lifestyles, capacity of adaptation, ability to express feelings with words and ability to express feelings with the body, etc, etc…