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At the moment I am taking part in the EU Leonardo funded programme Innovation in Rural Development II. It is taking place in Lednice village in the Czech province Southern Moravia bordering Austria and Slovakia.

The so called Intensive Programme Course for master and PhD students from the 14-25 March 2011 is organized by the faculty of horticuture of Mendel University Brno located in Lednice in the UNESCO cultural heritage area of Lednice Valtice Designed Landscape.

The students come from seven European nations: Finland, The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Therefore it is not only a learning environment under the topic of Rural Development, but also strongly in regards of intercultural communications. What is astonishing here is the fact, that we nearly do not have any colleages with a migrant background from another world region than Europe. Therefore after one week and overcoming many prejudices we recognise our similarities and understand each other quite well. It is easy to enjoy the programme together and having fun.

There are a diverse range of tasks and goals during the programme. Actually it begann already in Mid December with selecting a personal case study by each student and went on with three prestudy tasks from the 24 January that had to be handed in before the beginning of the contact course this Monday, 14 March, to the national tutors of each national team.

Task one was like a brainstorming exercise. Students had to give a definition for each of about ten terms around innovation. Task two contained some reading material that had to be commented on at least three pages and task three was a poster about the preliminary outcomes of the case study that had to be presented at the beginning of the contact course.

During the contact course in Lednice where 35 Students from the seven European Union countries take part, five groups were set up around the research area topics of the personal case studies which were given by the programme in prior. The working language is English.

The main goal of the contact course is to learn some methods that we can approach to our case studies after the contact course. The reports from the case studies should be handed in until May 2011. The other main goal is learning about group dynamics and intercultural communication.

For to learn the methods, the working groups have to do consulting for certain stakeholders in the Lednice Valtice area with a problem that lies within their research field of their case studies. The contact course is divided into class room sessions and group sessions. Both contribute to both learning goals.

For details go to: Mendel University Brno

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