Evidence exists that facts, data, examples, and categories provided in teaching sessions for trainees being prepared to enter an overseas culture, but whose learning experiences did not include interactions with representatives of the cultures studied, do not readily transfer to practical, meaningful applications. Social scientists have pointed to the fact that interaction skills are more effectively learned through guided experience in the behavior itself, and that such learning is even more effective if the learner can immediately apply what he or she has learned. The purpose of this homework assignment is to encourage moral imagination, the active understanding, including the development of an attitude of acceptance, respect, and tolerance for cultural differences.
To complete this assignment follow these steps:
- Select one individual from another culture, for example an international employee from your work or neighborhood, an international student, a student from a different sexual orientation, race, or age, or possibly an agency in the community. Find someone from a different ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation etc. This person must be someone you did not know well before (your classmates should be excluded from this assignment). This assignment will give you an opportunity to get to know him/her and his/her culture at a deeper level.
- Develop at least 3 in-person interactions (at least 1 hour each) with this person that
- provide opportunities for learning about each other’s cultures;
- provide opportunities for understanding cultural as well as individual differences;
- provide opportunities for shared experiences such as meals, cultural events, and visits (either in person or virtual) in each other’s homes and with each other’s families;
- are responsive to specific needs in specific circumstances (e.g., information, experiential learning, specific problems with agencies or customs) including those of the student or the international person;
- allow them to serve as intercultural informants for each other;
Due to the pandemic you are not required to meet in person if you don’t feel safe or comfortable. Instead, you can participate in virtual interactions. These interactions are not interviews or Q&A sessions. They intend to help you develop a relationship and learn about this culture.
- Keep a detailed electronic diary of your experiences with this person. This diary documents every interaction with this person, and should analyze and deal with personal reactions related to your own feelings, the situation, and the specific factors you have learned and can relate to your classroom learning experiences. The in depth details of the diary will be for you to keep and maintain.
- Prepare a written report that summarizes your diary by assuring anonymity of the specific person. In this report, information about specific ethnic, racial, and cultural factors should be provided. This report should include your insights, general cultural and communication-related information, and relevant relationships to the material covered in this course. The most important part of this paper is the new things you’ve learned about this culture that you did not know before, and your culture shock experiences. Tell us how this experience changed you. It should center around the following themes:
- Culture shock
- Perceptions, expectations, stereotyping, prejudice and attributions
- The role of culture, cultural and individual differences,
- Intercultural communication experiences
- Applicability of the theoretical models learned in this course
- Principles, concepts, and theories learned in this course
This paper should be typed, 6-10 pages (not including the diary), double-spaced, 12-point font, with page numbers, and citations must in be APA format. The diary can be hand-written, or typed, and does not have to be in APA format. There is no page limit for the diary.