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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Toilet Tuesdays: Multi-cultural Inclusion

Local elections all over Slovakia were held last Saturday.  Right before my husband headed out to vote, he read that foreigners with long-term stay visas could also vote. So. Of course I wanted to take advantage of this great privilege.

As in the US, voting is conducted in local public schools.  During my first visit to a public school in Slovakia, I read posters about Slovak writers, the types of shoes you should wear to school and how to take better care of your soul and spirit.  I also voted.

As we left the building, I happened to notice this sign on the bathroom. I'm always on the lookout for bathrooms that might lend themselves to a story. ;)

I stepped closer and realized that written below the primary languages of the region (Slovak, English, German) were more than 20 other languages!

I thought this was an appropriate placard for a country that allows foreigners to vote in local elections, but I also was surprised.  Slovakia has managed to evade the EU quotas of accepting refugees and doesn't really boast a wide range of cultures making their homes within the country.

Perhaps this sign is a "sign" of a desire within the education system to expose students to other languages and cultures.  Even in Europe, where you are surrounded by different languages and cultures, it can be hard to get out of your comfort zone and seek out friendships and associations with people who are different from you.

This toilet reminded me, that even in a country that doesn't have a lot of opportunities to interact with a wide-variety of different cultures, it's our attitude of being willing to engage and interact that's important.

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