SISLO want to be a bigger part of the activities on Department of Political Science and Public Management. It’s especially the language barrier that makes it difficult to participate.
The education programs MOISL and Welfare studies attract a lot of international studens. SISLO is an organization for the students of both educations. When accepted at one of those, you are automatically a member of the organization. First of all, SISLO makes both social events and events about current issues in the world. Second, they act as a bridge between the studens and the department.
“SISLO startet as a student organization just for MOISL students in order to protect their rights, so they had somebody to go through if there were problems with the professors, the program or the department,” says the former chairman Katharina Martiny.
“If you want to change something regarding the studies or if you have any reservations towards the department, it might be easier to fight it through our joint organization,” adds Petra Gavalcová.
Katharina Martiny and Petra Gavalcová are telling that international students in SISLO feel excluded from the rest of the department. Especially due to events made by other organizations.
“We are not very included but we are trying to be. It’s very hard for us when we don’t speak Danish which means that we are automatically excluded,” says Petra Gavalcová and continues: “A start would be to include us in your events and try make it in English”
The problems are the language barrier and lack of information about events organized by other organizations, the representatives from SISLO say.
“It is important to mix Danish students and international students, because SDU wants it,” Katharina Martiny says and points at the new program SDU has for internationalization.
“Imagine that you come to a foreign country to study. You’ll feel like you’re in a bubble at the university where you don’t know what is happening around because you don’t have direct acces to it. If people are declining speaking in a language that everyone understands, it’s like you are there, but you are not really there,” Petra Gavalcová says.
Who’s responsibility is it to create a better connection between international studens and the rest for the institut and the university?
“I think it’s responsibility of every one student. It’s about how open you are – if you are willing to accept us or not. If you would rater have a university based on Danish speaking students, or you have internationals, accept them and you actually take it as a challenge by talk to us in a different language and get better at it,” Petra Gavalcová answers.
But what can you do to make it better?
“We can be charming and show you that we are really nice people that are willing to take part in the Danish society”.
SiO meetings in English
At the SiO meeting in September, it was a topic if the meeting should be in English so the SISLO representatives could participate and understand. The SiO chairman, Narmer Fogh, did not like the idea, because it according to him would slow down the discussions.
“I understand that it’s more comfortable for Danish students to speak Danish at the meetings. But I think that a part of why we are here is to come out of the comfort zone and to learn new stuff. But if you say that you would try to speak English that would be okay. But if you the other side say you don’t feel comfortable speaking English because we don’t, and you at the same time says that the meeting is for everyone – then what is the point?” says Petra Gavalcová.
The partis have reach a compromise at the meeting to translate the most important points into English while keeping the discussion in Danish.
“I think it’s about compromising. We need to accept that Danish studens don’t always feel comfortable speaking English which is fine. And the Danish studens need to be more willing to try,” says Katharina Martiny.