Jamana Intercultural

About Us

 Meet Our Founders

 

Company owners Shana and Eric Medah have over 40 combined years working with people from other cultures.  They believe that cultural differences are a great way to bring curious people together.
 

Shana Medah
Director of Training

 

What does “Jamana” Mean?

 

“Jamana” is a West-African word that means “world”.  We chose that name because learning about other cultures really is learning about the world – and when you learn about other cultures, the whole world opens to you.

 

How did you get interested in teaching people about other cultures?

 

I’ve been interested in people from other cultures since I was very young.  I also discovered that I wanted to be a teacher at a fairly young age.  It seemed to make sense to join the two things I love most – and to serve other people while doing it.

 

What kind of experience do you have working with people from other cultures?

 

I spent the first 2 years of my career teaching French and German to middle school and high school students.  Then I taught English as a Second Language at the university level and in local private adult schools for over 12 years.  At last count, I have worked with or taught people from over 50 different countries.

 

A large part of my work teaching English to recent immigrants was helping them understand Americans and to adjust to their new life in the U.S.  In graduate school, the focus of my studies was teaching culture in foreign language classes.

 

I put that knowledge to work as a Peace Corps Volunteer, where I taught English in Burkina Faso, located in West Africa.  I had to learn how to explain American values and behavior in a way that was realistic and that made sense to local people without using stereotypes.


I left teaching to pursue other professional opportunities, and most recently was a Program Director for a leading au pair company.  There I worked with au pairs and their host families, often when they were having trouble living and working together. 

 

However, teaching has remained close to my heart, and with Jamana Intercultural, I’m happy to be able to teach people some of the most important skills you can possess in a modern, global world.

 

What is your favorite thing about teaching people about other cultures?

 

My favorite moments are when someone finally makes sense of the way that foreigners do something: – “Oh that’s why my [friend, host family, co-worker, exchange student, teacher, etc] does that!”  Those are the moments when you know that you’ve helped someone overcome some barrier and you’ve brought them closer to someone important in their life.  That’s what we’re all about.

 

 

Eric Medah
Director of Business Development

 

Tell us more about your home country, Burkina Faso.

 

Burkina Faso is a country in West Africa that is about the same geographic size as the state of Colorado.  It is very culturally diverse - home to 63 distinct ethnic groups, each with its own language and culture.  

 

What did you do before Jamana Intercultural?

 

I worked with a local organization that created a sister-city relationship between my hometown, Bobo Dioulasso, and Chalôns-sur-Marne in the Champagne region of France. 

 

In that organization, I planned exchange visits and community service projects with the youth of Chalôns-sur-Marne when they came to Bobo-Dioulasso. 

 

I was also a logistics planner for la Semaine Nationale de la Culture, which is a huge nationwide festival that celebrates the arts and culture of Burkina Faso.  I worked with local and international artists to locate housing and dining and arrange transportation while they were in Bobo Dioulasso for the festival. 

 

After I came to the United States, I worked as a records manager in English as a Second Language schools.  I’ve worked with immigrants and international students from over 20 different countries around the world.

 

How does being a multicultural family influence what you do at Jamana Intercultural?

 

We know from our own experience the joys and challenges of living with someone from another culture, as well as those of living in a culture that is not your own. 

 

We can tell you from our personal experience that building and keeping good relationships with people from other cultures isn’t always easy, but it is very rewarding.  Not only do you learn about others, but you will learn more about yourself than you can just about anywhere else.

 

As parents, we deeply believe that helping your child develop an intercultural outlook is one of the best gifts you can give.  In the coming years, the people who can understand and build good relationships with people from different cultures will have the biggest advantages in the job market.  What parent wouldn’t want to give that to their children?

 

Our relationships with people from all over the world have been wonderful gifts, and we want to share those gifts with you. 

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or feedback on any of our programs.

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