Investigation into Multicultural Readiness of Maritime Students: A Maritime English Lecturer’s View
Maritime affairs imply multinational/-cultural/-lingual work environments, and maritime students’ relative attitude should be investigated and the awareness raised. A research was undertaken with the 1st-year students of the Faculty of Maritime Studies (FMS) in Split, aiming at getting to know their cultural profile and their views of otherness. This is an essential starting point for the education of tolerant and knowledgeable seafarers, able to foresee possible problems arising in intercultural contacts, e.g. of a ship´s crew, and to deal with them if they should arise. Even before the introduction of multicultural elements into the university education of seafarers, some shipping companies had recognized the problem in an early stage and started undertaking individual initiatives to build respect and tolerance among crewmembers on board their ships originating from different national and cultural backgrounds. Since new nationalities are constantly entering the shipping industry scene, maritime students should be taught to: firstly, recognize the otherness and respect the different shapes it takes, and secondly, recognize the importance of the English language, not only as the occupational language in shipping and means of their professional communication, but also as their social life mediator in their working and living environment. A possible approach to this topic is proposed by an instructor of English for specific purposes in the maritime domain. It is through language that various attitudes presented by different nationalities in a variety of settings can best be illustrated.