When you live one hundred students together from the whole world, sometimes misunderstandings will happen because of the cultural differences. In other words – what is said as a compliment in Spain, may be interpretated as an insult in Pakistan. At International People’s College one of the main objectives is to get to know the world from the inside out. This requires a lot of reflection, and you need to be able to let your guards down from time to time and try to understand other peoples’ actions. You also need to reflect upon your own behaviour, aiming to be as respectful and considered as possible to people different than yourself.
At International People’s College we have a Code of Conduct which both students and staff follow. The Code of Conduct evolves around our core values, a sexual harassment policy, and some general rules at IPC. When students arrive to IPC we spend quite some time informing them about these key elements to be sure that everyone is one the same page and has the best possibilities to act accordingly.
Always be respectful to other people even though they might be very different from yourself. If you treat others with respect, you will also gain respect from the rest of the community. You might disrespect another person by mistake, but if you become aware of this you should apologise as soon as possible.
Listen and try to understand other people’s opinions. Even though you may disagree with them you can get new insights and learn a lot from the process of democratic consultation. The Folk High Schools in Denmark were predecessors when it comes to the functioning democracy in Denmark today, and we still strive to build International People’s College on the same democratic principles.
Everybody at International People’s College is equal – no matter what gender, sexual orientation, age, income etc. Even though we have different ‘roles’ at the school (i.e., principal versus students) which creates some sort of formal structure of power, we are all equal as human beings – equal in a sense where we deserve each other’s respect and understanding.
International People’s College was founded as a ‘peace school’ in 1921 with a desire to enforce mutual global understanding and appreciation of cultural differences. Peace is still essential to the life at IPC where we celebrate difference and diversity. By respecting and understanding each other’s differences we will become more loving and tolerant people – enforcing peace in the world instead of war.
When you empathize with other people you put yourself in their place and try to understand the challenges they face. Understanding of cultural differences is key at IPC, but to fully comprehend the needs of others, you must be able to show empathy and put yourself aside from time to time – to put other people’s need before your own.
We try to live sustainably at IPC – both when it comes to ‘green actions’ like recycling, ecology, food waste etc., but also when it comes to long-lasting sustainable ways of living. We strive to create a tolerant, peaceful, and sustainable atmosphere at the school and beyond.
Sexual harassment is many things, and it does not have to be ‘sexual’, but can also be intimidating actions and unwelcoming behaviour in relation with a person’s sex. It can be very difficult to define when an action is considered a sexual harassment or not, but if we see or hear about actions which we define as sexual harassment, or if someone feels like they have been harassed, we take it very seriously at International People’s College, and several actions will be unfolded to investigate the matter. We always try to facilitate teacher-led consultation between the different parties of a conflict, but some actions call for immediate expulsion.
Students get a complete sexual harassment policy upon arrival at IPC with concrete examples and details, which will also be discussed at a Fellowship in the beginning of term. Furthermore we facilitate different workshops within this topic. All staff members at IPC must sign a sexual harassment policy when hired.
Watch this film to understand how consent is similar to a cup of tea:
As a student at International People’s College we expect you to be participate in the activities at campus. You need to be interested in other people and other cultures, and in the classes we offer, to apply for a stay at IPC. We rely on students’ motivation and engagement to create a term out of the ordinary.
Students need to attend classes and mandatory activities such as Cultural Evenings and Morning Fellowship and some mandatory excursions etc. If a student is absent from a lot of classes and mandatory activities, we will discuss further calls of actions with the student.
Furthermore, we follow the Danish law at International People’s College. Drugs – including marijuana – is not legal and will lead to an immediately expulsion. Alcohol is allowed at IPC Friday and Saturday nights, but if students can’t control their intake and miss out on classes because of this, further enforcement will have to be taken.
Overall, we follow the sentence “responsibility is the price of freedom” at International People’s College – meaning that students get a lot of freedom to do what they want and how they want to do it, as long as they follow our general guidelines and our code of conduct and act in responsible ways.