When I moved to Bristol (UK) I had to face and confront a custom of the Anglo-Saxon bureaucracy, the Reference Letter. It does not exist in Italy, where I come from and no one is used to ask for it, so you do not know who can be your referee and your referee does not know what to write about you. This can become in fact, from a custom barrier, a psychological barrier that you need to face in order to be included in the “British Institution” system. And of course to obtain a job or to study there.
In order to try to solve and analyse this topic about bureaucracy and inclusion, I asked people who know me and persons that have never met me before, to write me a Reference Letter. I created REFERENCE MONDAY, an experimental writing worldwide flashmob that worked as a personal virtual office where to obtain and ask for Reference Letters. Referees could post the letter on the FB event page or send them via email.
To help the referees, I created a form for the letter -modifying an existing one for the Centre Saint Martin University in London- and a list of twelve elements describing my personal, academic and job Background.
I wanted the service to be helpful even to others coming to anglo-saxon countries, In fact in my call I suggested the reopening of the office: “I am going to open the office on Monday the 9th for my own need but then, please feel free to reopen it for you when necessary – as a Fb event – every second Monday of the month to obtain a Reference Letter. Keep the office alive. Please note, if you reopen it, keep following its simple rules: use the same Reference Module and create your personal list of 12 elements to help your future referees”.
Unfortunately, it was never reopened, and even if I received few letters, they were quite “unprofessional”, so I have to start looking for the only job positions where you can work even without a reference (because no brits wants them).