How to use this online course
“I don’t know how much has changed, but maybe I could say that I have learned more about that importance of respecting each other’s culture, so that the children will learn this as well.”
“I think when you are in another culture, you gain another culture. You don't just have one set of rules in the society, you get to have two countries, two cultures.”
Course outline and summary of the themes
This Duo Family Training self-study online course has been designed to support intercultural couples as they make the transition into parenthood and beyond. The course begins with the concept of intercultural couple and continues with becoming a parent and parenthood, taking care of the relationship, challenges, bilingualism, the identity and identity development of an intercultural child, and the concept of a ‘third culture’.
A summary of the themes
Theme 1: The Intercultural Couple
Theme 2: The Pregnant Couple
Theme 3: Intercultural Parenthood
Theme 4: The Two of You
Theme 5: Challenges
Theme 6: The Bilingual Child
Theme 7: The Intercultural Child
Theme 8: The Third Culture
Aims and target
The aim of this course is to offer intercultural couples a standalone course they can work through together using different forms of information and activities. Parenthood raises many issues and questions, all of which can be daunting. Furthermore, intercultural couples may have different ideals and standards when it comes to parenting because of their different backgrounds and experiences. The target of this course is not to give an intercultural couple a recipe for perfect parenting, but to offer information and first-hand accounts (verbal and written) from parents of intercultural children, so that the couple taking part in this course can gain more insight into the special characteristics of intercultural parenthood and, therefore, be better able to decide what works for them.
How to use the course
Each theme will begin by offering an introduction to the theme and the quotes from parents of intercultural families will give a more rounded experience to the subject at hand. At the end of each theme there are links to homework, audio and video clips, and bonus material. It is best to use all aspects of each theme, but this is by no means compulsory.
The course is written in such a way that it is not made up of endless text and heavy reading. Instead, the writing is broken down into themes and bite-sized sections. Furthermore, a number of features are used to give a more rounded experience, including audio and video clips, external links and quotes from parents of intercultural families.
Obviously everybody will complete the course in different ways and varying times, so there is not an exact time limit on each theme or the course in general. However, as a rough guideline, the entire course, including homework and independent reading, should last approximately two-to-three weeks.
Throughout the thematic texts there are a number of quotes from intercultural parents based in Finland. These have been added to enrich each theme with personal experiences. Each quote relates to the matter being discussed and adds further substance to the subject.
Audio clips and interviews
There are a large number of intercultural families in Finland, many of whom will have gone through similar experiences to the ones you may be concerned about. Therefore, we have interspersed each theme with audio clips featuring a range of fellow intercultural parents sharing their experiences and offering advice and tips which will, hopefully, give new ideas and puts a human aspect to the course material. We have spoken to many couples in different stages of their relationships and believe that their experiences and knowledge can be of great benefit.
The couples we have spoken to include:
At the end of every theme, a homework task (or two) is assigned. The aim of the homework is to help the couple to reflect on each theme and to create more dialogue, and thus understanding, between the partners. The homework assignments can be found by clicking the hyperlinks, which will then take you to a separate page (PDF). Every assignment is printable.
Each theme comes with a bonus material section, which contains a number of links to further reading and external sites. By making use of these sections, participants will be able to find information related to the subject and useful websites which can all be used to complement each theme. Furthermore, these sections can provide more in-depth material and different perspectives on the subject of intercultural parenting.
What is Duo?
The course has been made possible thanks to Duo, which was a four-year project administered by Familia ry and financed by RAY. It was set up to focus on intercultural couples living in Finland, given they have tripled in number over the past twenty years to more than 70 000. Activities and services for intercultural families now form a permanent and integral part of Familia's activities and Familia is the leading expert of intercultural families.
The term ‘intercultural relationship’ relates to a couple that is made up of two people who were born and raised in different countries and therefore cultures.
We have chosen the term ‘expatriate’ to describe the member of the couple who is not from Finland, but have partnered it with various references, such as spouse, parent and partner, throughout depending on the context in which the expatriate is being referred to. This is obviously the same person, but the changes in terminology make it easier to clarify the role being discussed.
The majority of couples that take part in this course will be made up of one Finnish partner and one who was not born or raised in Finland. Therefore, the term used to describe the former is ‘Finnish partner’. However, there will be cases where couples do not or no longer live in Finland or there is no community partner, so in some cases we use the synonyms ‘community partner’ and ‘home partner’. These terms all mean the same and are interchangeable.