When Portuguese student Cintia Queta joined De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) there were some aspects of life in a new city that she found strange – and it wasn’t just the local accent.
It’s fair to say Cintia, 23, who had spent the past eight years living in London, was a little overwhelmed by student culture in general.
So the International Relations and Journalism student signed up for DMU Global’s Intercultural Awareness Certificate, and says it’s one of the best things she could have done.
“I felt like it would really help me in my own personal development and, as someone studying International Relations, it would give me a better perspective working as a team with people who have different values, different views and different cultural backgrounds,” Cintia said.
“I have learned so much about me and others as a result. Students should definitely sign-up this year.”
The course consists of workshops, online courses and volunteering opportunities to help raise awareness of global issues. The deadline to sign up is Monday 19 October.
Sign up for the DMU Global Intercultural Awareness Certificate here
Be inspired. Join the next DMU Digital Open Day
Find out more about Your DMU Future
As part of her work to gain the certificate, Cintia volunteered at City Retreat – an Islamic charity that helps refugees in Leicester. Cintia worked on organising a comedy show fundraiser for the charity as well as seeing the day-to-day work City Retreat does.
Cintia, who is a Muslim, took one of her Christian friends with her during the volunteer work
Cintia said: “It was a real moment. I was the only Muslim she knew and she was like ‘Oh my goodness. You do all of this?’.
“I was left thinking ‘Why have we never had these conversations before about Islam and been more open about each other’. I learned it is not just a case of trying to understand different people’s values but taking the time to talk and explain them too.
“In one of the lectures we attended the academic was explaining how we are all connected in some way. We may all have different ways of expressing what our culture is but when you think about it we all have the same values. We all want to be connected with family and friends and live a peaceful life which is full of joy.”
Cintia, who graduated in summer with a 2:1 and is now starting a Master’s course, said: “It is easy to arrive at a place and look at the people and the way they do things, then say ‘this is weird and strange’. How about being more engaged in understanding why people do the things they do?”
Gunther Mur Hartmann, who has just started his second year studying International Relations with Politics, also completed the certificate.
Gunther, who is from Barcelona in Spain, volunteered to start a pop-up cinema in Leicester for people who cannot usually afford to go to see a film and helped out at art classes in the community.
He said: “I realised, as someone new to Leicester, that there are so many levels of diversity in the city. I learned so much and it really helped me with my English.
“I would definitely recommend people sign-up. You feel great helping others and learn a lot.”
Posted on Thursday 8th October 2020