About Eurolink/ Europe Direct

Eurolink is an initiative of The Rural Centre, a non profit organisation which began in 1993 to promote cross community peace building and respect for cultural diversity to the inhabitants of Northern Ireland.

The Rural Centre’s vision is to create an inclusive and accepting society that understands and respects cultural diversity. It achieves this by connecting people to collaborate and build relationships cross community, cross border and between other regions of Europe to share expertise and knowledge through study visits, European projects and cultural awareness training.

Europe Direct Northern Ireland EDNILOGO
The Rural Centre hosts Europe Direct Northern Ireland, an EU information office which is part of a network with over 500 offices in each of the 28 Member States. Europe Direct Northern Ireland provides information on EU policies, programmes, EU funding and advice on your rights as an EU citizen. With offices across the EU we can help you reach the right people and projects across a wide range of sectors & interests.

Study Visits
Tailor made educational and best practice study visits within this region or to other regions of Europe providing an opportunity to see and learn onsite to explore shared history, share expertise, knowledge and the exchange of best practice between regions.

Event Management
A full event management service within this or other regions of Europe. Providing a personal and flexible approach for all your event needs.

European Projects
European Projects (often called transnational partnerships) involve working with partners from other regions of Europe to collaborate and find innovative solutions to common problems. European projects can strengthen the capacity to innovate, modernize and adapt to social and economical challenges. We can help you find links and partnerships within the region and across Europe.

Cultural Awareness Training
Training is designed and delivered across all sectors and explores how culture shapes how we behave and communicate and provides the knowledge, skills and expertise to communicate effectively across cultures and promote acceptance and respect for diversity.



Training for International Teams

Training was delivered to a UK/ Ireland organisation who were working will colleagues across Europe. Some meetings were held online while others took place face to face. Both these types of meetings have their own protocol which is influenced by the cultural protocol for conducting meetings. The training explored intercultural communication skills to understand how culture impacts and influences how business meetings are is conducted, how decisions are made and how agreement is reached.

Intercultural competencies are now essential for business success as we work with colleagues and clients with different cultural working practices. Teams are increasingly working with colleagues from different cultures and it is important that Team Leaders and Team members come equipped with intercultural skills and knowledge.

Meeting & Greeting International Visitors

Visitors now come from right across the world and when you’re working in the tourism it’s important to know how to receive international visitors to your region.

This workshop helped those in the tourism industry to look at the different cultural ways of meeting and greeting. First impression count!

A satisfied customer will return and will spread the word and word of mouth is one of the best recommendation for any business.

The workshop looked at how to consider different cultural perspectives in:
Greetings, names
How to be clear in communication: Plain English signs, information, rules and regulations
The impact of volume, tone of voice, pace of speech and humour
Perceptions of status, role and gender
Personal space, eye contact, dress and appearance
Listening: active and non active
Time: decision making, meals, arrival & departures

Cross Community School History Visit to Dublin

This study visit included two schools who came together on a cross community basis to explore their shared history.

The aim was to promote an understanding of how the EU works and the rights of citizens to live, work and study in other regions and to promote acceptance of cultural diversity, understanding our history in a wider EU, why the EU was created, member states and when UK and Ireland joined.


Clarify, Clarify, Clarify!!

Misunderstandings happen with colleagues in our own culture but they can happen more often when we are working with colleagues from other cultures.

We tend to make assumptions based on our own style of communication and that style can differ across cultures.


I made this mistake recently. I was helping to write an application for a project and I was sent a draft to ‘control’. I assumed control mean to proof read and edit it. So I started working through and editing the text. It took hours to work though the 80+page document. Just as I was about to finish I was sent through a revised version of the form!. I didn’t understand that control meant just to read it not edit it! So I had to start all over again!!

So, how do we avoid these misunderstandings?
Clarify, clarify, clarify! Understand that some cultures are more direct or indirect than others. Don’t make assumptions. Be clear and direct and ask for clarification.

EU Languages for Careers day or Teachers

N Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching & Research (NICILT) hosted this event in Queens University for post primary teachers to provide EU Information and support to teachers to help them advise students on the value of languages, opportunities to volunteer through EVS to improve language skills and the importance of languages in job mobility and the rights of citizens to live, work and study on other regions.

The full day session included speakers employers seeking employees with language skills to highlight the importance of languages for the workplace; from the European Commission, British and Europe Direct NI how languages can be used for employment in Europe and beyond. Other options for language study were provided from a variety of alternative language training providers.

Europe Direct NI presentation concentrated on the rights of citizens to live, work and study in other regions, and how languages can be developed through opportunities such as volunteering through the EVS programme and how important languages are in job mobility in today’s global market. and ways in which languages can be developed through experiences such as volunteering through the EVS programme.


How an Onion can help your business!

Today, more than ever intercultural competence skills are essential when business means working with colleagues, clients and customers from other cultures.

Like an onion, every culture has many layers. The outer part is what you see, what people say, how they look, dress, the music, food, architecture, festivals…

As you peel away the layers you get to the core of the ‘cultural onion’, the beliefs and values that influence how people act and behave.

The same behavior can have different meanings in each culture.

What do you understand when someone says yes?
‘Yes’ in one culture can mean yes, I agree, let’s do it! While in another ‘yes’ means I hear you, I’m listening but I haven’t made a decision.
To connect to people and do business effectively you need to look beneath the skin.