Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interview with Carina Schmid from The Global Experience

During the Friday afternoon at the University of Graz, Carina Schmid, the project manager of The Global Experience, agreed to sit down with Emma and I for a while and discuss about the organization and her role in it!

Schmid explained to us that the story and motivation behind The Global Experience started when she traveled to Africa 8 years ago and realized how different it actually is to visit other countries and cultures herself than just watch documents on TV. It really puts things in another perspective. Without traveling yourself you will have no clue what the life outside Europe is really like. Also she realized that helping the poor can be a lot more than just donating, and so the idea of The Global Experience sprouted. The aim is to give people the chance to meet and discuss with people from other cultures around the world and give the most motivated ones the chance to actually travel to the other side of the world to live and learn about other countries!

Being the project manager of The Global Experience, Schmid told that it gives a part-time payment but is a full-time job. Her tasks include applying for funding, evaluating projects and handling all the communication inside and outside of the organization. On top of that she also studies at the same time!

When we asked about the forums of The Global Experience which give the chance for people around the world to interact and exchange information with each other, she said that it has been working quite well. Of course it does not give the same impact as the real world events, but it helps people to learn more about each others cultures. YouTube language videos made by the organization brought more interested users to the forum. As in every forum, there are also some scammers, but a good reporting system helps to get rid of them quickly. Schmid describes the atmosphere of the forums to be very personal and friendly. Even though some arguments may arise, they are usually handled quite well.

The Global Experience also organizes meetings and events that take place around the world. Schmid says that the best thing in such events is to meet new and old people, exchange information and network. Seeing a crowd of people in the same place just because you had the idea to organize the event feels amazing, Schmid explains.

When we asked about the funding, Schmid told that there are no general sponsors or advertisers at the moment, but that they are constantly sending out new applications to gain more funding. People working in the organization are mostly volunteers.

In the end of the interview, we asked from Schmid is she had something to say to our fellow IMPs, and she did! "Join the community! We need Finnish users to tell us more about the Finnish culture and change the assumptions that everyone has about Finland!"

Thank you Carina Schmid, and congratulations!

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