ENLIGHT joint courses

Connecting Cultures: Sustainability, Travel, Translation & Migration

In an increasingly interconnected and globalized world, understanding the ways in which cultures interact, influence and transform one another is crucial for fostering sustainable and inclusive societies. By examining the processes of travel, translation, and migration, students will gain insights into the challenges and opportunities presented by cultural encounters and exchanges.

About the course


This BIP course will delve into various aspects of cultural connectivity, drawing from fields such as travel studies, translation studies, cultural transfer studies, and migration studies.

The course is open to postgraduate, master and PhD students of various disciplines (especially humanities and social sciences) and aims at providing students a framework for analyzing the complexities of cultural interactions and their implications for sustainable development.

Key topics covered in the course include impacts and power dynamics involved in encounters between cultures, the potential of travel for fostering intercultural understanding and sustainable development, the role of language in cultural transfer, the challenges and opportunities of (both interlingual and intercultural) translation, the impact of translation and cultural transfer on social change, the cultural dynamics resulting from migration (cultural adaptation, hybridity, identity formation).

Throughout the course, students will engage in critical discussions, case studies, and collaborative projects to deepen their understanding of the complex relationships between travel, translation, migration and sustainable development. During the on-site week, students will apply the acquired knowledge through a challenge-based learning process focusing on cultural transfers linked to SDG achievements. The challenges will be linked to the research interests of the participants and will be formulated in collaboration with external socio-cultural agents.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be equipped with the analytical tools and frameworks necessary to navigate cultural connectivity in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world. After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the roles of culture, language, power, and communication on the development of personal, social and cultural identities.
  • Demonstrate critical engagement with theories and research relating to connecting cultures, especially concepts of cultural contact through travel, translation and migration.
  • Identify/recognize challenges relating to cultural transfers which arise from intercultural interactions.
  • Work collaboratively in intercultural teams.
  • Address translation studies, migration studies, travel studies and cultural transfer studies from the perspective of sustainability.
  • Apply their knowledge of cultural transfer to promote transfers with a positive impact on SDGs.


March-April 2024: 5 online sessions: 15/3, 22/3, 12/4, /19/4, 26/4 (subject to change)

  • Introductory session: students and lecturers present their research interests; students also reflect on what they expect from the course; introduction to the format and content of the course. Informal meeting to get to know each other.
  • Theoretical framework on forms of travel writing, ecoliterature and the role of the author as cultural transmitter in creating awareness about climate change (University of Groningen)
  • Seminar on translation as interlingual, intercultural and intersemiotic transfer, related to the diversity of national and cultural image-building in travel writing (University of Tartu)
  • Migrants, refugees and minorities as agents of cultural transfer: ethical dilemmas and alternative narratives (University of the Basque Country)
  • Sites of Encounter/Sites of Translation. Intercultural communication and the landscape (University of Galway)

May 13-17: On-site week, University of the Basque Country:

Students will put into practice what they learnt during the lectures. Divided into multidisciplinary, multicultural and multilingual groups, students will be involved in a Challenge Based Learning process, in collaboration with external socio-cultural agents. The challenges will be linked to the research interests of the participants. During the same week, a two-day research workshop will be organized simultaneously in collaboration with various experts belonging to different research groups and projects, both from the ENLIGHT network and from outside of it, to share knowledge and to discuss with the BIP course participants the projects they are working on.


Assessments will take place in both formative and summative forms, during the online course activities and during the on-site week. Students are required to participate actively in different activities and to submit deliverables (portfolio, reports, presentations).

To receive a final grade for the course, students need to actively participate in all lectures and workshops and successfully complete compulsory activities.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.


  • Luc van Doorslaer (University of Tartu),
  • Anne O’Connor (University of Galway)
  • Frederik Verbeke (University of the Basque country)
  • Jeanette den Toonder (University of Groningen)
  • Petra Broomans (University of Groningen)
  • and guest lecturers during on-site week


    Practical Details

    Courses – Focus area: Equity, Global Engagement
    Study Field: Humanities
    Type: course
    Format: Blended
    Host: University of the Basque Country
    Course dates: Online March-April 2024 (Onsite week in May 2024)
    Apply by: Registration closed
    ECTS: 5
    Number of places available: 3 per ENLIGHT university
    Level: Master, PhD