21 February 2013
Final year Advertising and PR students studying ‘Transnational and Multicultural Communication’ took part in an innovative virtual cultural exchange with students in Mexico last term.
The ‘exchange’, which involved a collaborative bilingual wiki and a series of seminars via videoconference, was the first in what has been planned as an annual collaboration between Media School students and students at the Universidad Autonoma Estado de Mexico (Autonomous University of Mexico State).
The activity was co–coordinated by tutors Dr Carrie Hodges (BU) and Dr Lenin Martell (Mexico). Activities and discussion focused on the role of the Media in perpetuating exaggerated cultural stereotypes. Students were asked to select a series of YouTube videos which they believed best represented each other’s cultures and then critically reflect upon and debate their choices.
The seminars via videoconference focused on brand and cultural consumption amongst UK and Mexican students, as well as varied aspects of ‘student culture’ in both countries. During the seminars, students were also asked to record observations of each other’s non–verbal communication and comment on the challenges associated with language and working collaboratively in a virtual context. Unit tutor, Dr Carrie Hodges commented:
"Feedback from those who participated in the virtual cultural exchange was very positive. Several students commented that the opportunity to discuss values, aspirations and cultural behaviours at first hand with students in another country highlighted similarities of experiences and issues facing young people irrespective of geographical borders and that this was one of the most valuable lessons they had learned from the exercise."