People who work for the United Nations in Vienna tend to stay within their expat bubble. They go to work, meet other international people, have no purpose to learn the local language, and have no opportunity to mingle with natives. The Vienna Service Office felt they needed to do something about this and hosted several events, including the Cross-Cultural Lounge.
Cross-Cultural Lounge for United Nations
The Service Office of a big public organisation in Vienna wanted to offer employees of the UN the opportunity to get to know Viennese people. They were looking for a way to make UN employees feel welcome and included.
We launched a series of cross-cultural meet-ups for open-minded and curious members of the international and the local community. These events took place after work and provided a creative space where people of different cultural backgrounds could get to know each other and start building relationships. The community of practice model served us as a communicative framework. The goal was to help establish long-term connections among participants.
Benefits for Participants
Event participants enjoyed the relaxed and cheerful atmosphere. They managed to break down cultural and language barriers and engaged in interesting conversations. Participants discovered a lot of things about their guest culture that they had not known before. Likewise, local people were excited to get in touch with different nationalities and to practise their English. We are told that some connections have turned into real friendships over the years.