A little more than one month before the Us Europeans project will come to an end. I hope that those who hooked on have enjoyed traveling along over my shoulder and will equally appreciate the remaining 31 articles. While this particular mission is coming to an end, I am also working on what the next project will be. I therefore use this article as a `call for projects`. If anybody has interesting ideas about how to promote cross-cultural understanding and European integration, I will be more than happy to make contributions to those.
The first idea I have in mind is to set up a system that allows independent professionals to work on different locations in Europe, without having to change jobs. Although I think that politics can do lots for European integration ? more than what they are achieving these days ? I think that the main advantages of a united Europe should be practical and functional. It`s nice to talk about how important it is that people should talk about how important it is that different kind of people talk to each other, but what if you just put them in an office and make them work together. Or even: make them want to work together. Explained in this way, the idea sounds rather vague and random, but everything wonderful starts with vague ideas, and the project I am now finalizing was also a vague idea one year ago.
`Yes, I will go see a hairdresser when I get back home`
Apart from this international nomadic office idea, here`s a list of fields in which I would be happy to provide assistance. Don`t hesitate to also have a look at my CV for more official information about the experiences I collected before leaving on the Us Europeans project.
As the Us Europeans project shows, I can easily deal with discipline and deadlines. What may not show from Us Europeans is that I can also adjust my writing style to many different types of audiences. I am particularly motivated to assist in the creation of educational material about Europe and am able to write for audiences ranging from politicians to primary school pupils and from academics to teenagers or businessmen. Not only should I be able to deliver content on request, I am also sufficiently creative to create editorial concepts. I am quick at understanding information presented in five languages and can also deal with European languages that I do not officially speak.
Regardless of the subject at hand, I am able to provide both written material and photographs of professional quality. For an impression of photographs, here`s a small tool I assembled. It suitable for integration in just about everything website that has something to do with Europe, and can be customised in all possible ways.
My previous job consisted of providing companies with investment advises and market intelligence. I don`t see much difference between this and journalism. In both cases, the aim is to quickly collect information, process it and make it useful. Turning findings into advice is only one additional step, although I prefer to help companies ask themselves questions rather than me having to formulate the answers. The advantage, like with the languages, is that I can equally assist companies who operate in a domain that I barely know anything about.
One of the reasons why I like photography so much is because it helps me to share my observations and ideas. Although I have never been in a position to officially train somebody for a certain job or mission, I do like to help people achieve things. Sharing experiences is a first step in this learning process, which I find very fascinating. I would be very happy if somebody else could use bits and pieces of the information I collected in Us Europeans to make his/her operations more efficient. A lot of business initiatives are undertaken with the basic idea that cultural differences should not influence people`s professional relationships but they do.
I don`t want to give it all away right now and right here, but it`s obvious that Finnish people and Portuguese people are likely to have misunderstandings between them, possibly about the meaning of the word `maybe`. The same applies to Greeks and Germans, who may not understand each others concept of time. Or Poles and Dutch about undermining authority, or Italians and Swedes about whether to focus on the getting something sold or creating a system that proves its use over and over again. French and Estonians about whether or not to shake hands and kiss women. And many, many, many more. All funny examples when explained in a loose context, but potential deal breakers in negotiations.
Having experienced all these different mindset allows me to easily understand which problems they will have and how they could solve them. Again, I believe that accepting the difference takes out the 40% of the problem, while knowing about them takes away another 40%. The remaining 20% is preferably filled with friendship and forgiveness for the misunderstandings that any two people will have between each other. I believe that people who understand each other can also trust each other, people who trust each other can work together and people who work together can achieve cool things. Cross border synergy: taking advantage of the variety in Europe instead of having endless discussions about a constitution.
That`s about all I have to say on my last day in Poland. I am preparing for the final month of the project and look forward to soon having a short period of holidays. It is also time to go see a hair dresser after 7(!) months without proper treatment? Before that, I hope to visit Berlin (tomorrow), followed by Weimar, Dresden, Berlin again, Rostock, Copenhague, Lund, Odense, some places on mainland Denmark, Hamburg, Kassel, Frankfurt and HOME! Eleven months down, one more to go :)
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