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2012 | 2 | 2 | 29-42

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Polish and Belaursian students’ attitudes toward other nations

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Introduction: Approximately 7,000 different ethnic groups and nations inhabit the earth, and most of the tensions among people stem from prejudice and intolerance. Purpose: To assess a student perception of foreign nations and cultures. Materials and methods: We used the original questionnaire to assess the views of 150 students from Poland and 102 students from Belarus. Results: Twenty percent of the Polish respondents indicated that Poland is a tolerant nation; in contrast, 70.6% of Belarusian students claim that theirs is a tolerant nation. Almost 57% of the Polish and 34.3% of the Belarusian students knew a person belonging to a national or ethnic minority. 37.4% of the Polish respondents and 12.7% of the Belarusians were convinced that tolerance among foreign nations has increased. Neither the Polish nor the Belarusian students wanted to have as a neighbor, partner or spouse, a colleague at school who was a drug addict, homosexual or HIV positive. Nearly 40% of the Polish and 77.5% of the Belarusian respondents indicated that national minorities could have the opportunity to learn their language by accessing extra lessons offered at school. Fifty-eight percent from Poland and 52.9% from Belarus were opposed to providing financial assistance to support foreign cultures and traditions, and the same number believed that foreign students could communicate in their language in local offices. The Polish students’ most positive features were attributed to the Italian, French, and Greek, whereas the Belarusian students held the British, Finnish and French in the highest esteem. The Polish respondent's most negative features were attributed to Gypsies and Russians, and the Belarusian students had the lowest esteem for the Germans, Arabs and Chechens. Conclusions: Poles are not tolerant nation, but their acceptance is increasing. Belarusians are tolerant, but their acceptance is declining. We found differences in the positive and negative perceptions of other nations depending on the nationality










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