Blog #2: Maia’s First Impressions :)

When I came into class on Wednesday, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. This is a class unlike anything I’ve taken before. It all went very smoothly though, and I got a really good impression from my international classmates. We had a lot of fun coming up with a team name, and we worked really well together to get through the questions we are given. Even now, as we are working on our contract, we are being very good about managing our time and working together to get things done, and get them done well.

As for my previous experience with people from different cultures and countries, my family actually hosted an exchange student last year from Ukraine, and I actively participated in the exchange student program. This meant that I went to socials with exchange students from all over the world who weren’t shy about sharing their experiences and their cultures, and I was more than eager to listen. I keep in touch with many of the friends I made as a result of this, even if we are in completely different time zones.

To be completely honest when it comes to similarities and differences, I think people can often almost alienate people from other cultures that don’t necessarily think the way they do, so they expect differences between different people to be greater than they are. Overall, I think we’re all just college students looking to learn and diversify our thinking.

I’m very excited to give this class my all this semester, and I’m looking forward to all I can gain from it. 🙂

Edit —–

I’d like to expand on the previous experience aspect of everyone’s lives. In addition to the more straightforward intercultural experience, I also have the same intercultural experience of everyone in my generation; I watch YouTube videos produced all over the world, read news about global events, add to the global community by posting on social media, and read books from perspectives from all over the world. Additionally, every student who goes to Marymount attends one of the most diverse schools in the eastern US. Globalization has been accelarating at an exponential speed, and the people in my generation are so much a part of it that they often don’t even recognize it for what it is. There is often a lot of talk about these generational gaps, and I think the gap between our (most likely) our parent’s generation, Gen X, and our generation, Gen Z/Millennials, is particularly potent when it comes to globalization. People our age have a substantial amount of previous experience with international cultures and countries. Whether it’s through social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, or YouTube, or simply scrolling online everyday, we have all seen our fair share of the new, up-and-coming global and intercultural world. This experience may not seem like real experience; however, is much more meaningful if we recognize it for what it is and use it as an educational experience, and that’s why this class exists. So, while some people posting might not claim to have much intercultural experience, they are neglecting to consider the interactions of their everyday lives in this global society. This constant can and should be used to learn, and I’m excited for all this class can give in the sense of new perspectives and broadening my horizons on globalization.

We have all been successful at putting aside our differences so far. If we can take this microcosm and expand it into our everyday lives, it can spread and create and overall better world. Tolerance and acceptance are in short supply in today’s society, and classes such as this one can inspire people to build relationships, stop dehumanizing each other, and employ their empathy across the world.

3 Comments on “Blog #2: Maia’s First Impressions :)

  1. It’s always good to see, when people cast aside their prejudgments and are so open to learn about other cultures and people. You have a lot of intercultural experience, which I guess mostly comes from having the mindset mentioned above. The initial meeting went indeed surprisingly well and I think this semester will be a great addition to the intercultural experiences you already have.

  2. Maia – you raise some fascinating observations when you say “I also have the same intercultural experience of everyone in my generation; I watch YouTube videos produced all over the world, read news about global events, add to the global community by posting on social media, and read books from perspectives from all over the world. Additionally, every student who goes to Marymount attends one of the most diverse schools in the eastern US.” There is quite a debate in the literature about whether simple exposure to something —- fill in here (…. diversity, culture)changes a person’s views. The idea originated with Allport’s Contact hypothesis…. I often wonder about that — it seems to me that to learn from others requires a bit more than sitting in the same room or watching from afar…. You knocked this post out of the park, as the saying goes!

    • I definitely think exposure to globalization certainly has an effect on people’s perspectives; I also think these differences are quite subtle, and can even be passed off as concepts such as generational differences. The “technology gap” between generations is a good example of this, and the technological advancements are a facet of globalization. At the same time, the exposure alone doesn’t have the effect Allport wants. We have seen time and time again that contact can also cause conflict; this is where we get heavy prejudices, such as racism and other forms of extreme prejudices. Additionally, even if this cultural contact doesn’t cause conflict, it won’t necessarily bring harmony and understanding either. It does take a recognition and reflection on what’s happening. I think this is what Allport means when he says “managed contact,” though I’m not sure how manageable these conditions are, especially on a societal scale. I definitely agree that learning does require more activity than simply experiencing.

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