I have to say that in all honesty, this course was one of the most challenging for me. I am much more of a technical and mathematical thinker, so it definitely was difficult for me to analyze and think in such a different way than I normally do. However, I think that is the case for everyone, I don’t think people regularly think about the “why” in their everyday lives, so I think in that respect I can say this class taught me to be mindful.
Mindfulness, in that I began to find myself questioning and hypothesizing how things are in my community; how every type of person and organization seems to influence one another over long distances and over thousands of years. And while it is true that the fusion of cultures and traditions is very important and ever present, I now definitely resonate with the concept of “going global” by thinking local. Not to sound too cliché, but this class, although insanely tough at times, forced me to open my mind and truly try and understand globalization and intercultural communication. And to be completely honest, im still not in complete understanding of globalization, but now I think that because I have the knowledge and background on the matter, I can begin to understand globalization more and more outside of the classroom as I find myself making intercultural connections with mundane things. In summation, this class gave me a great basis for continuing to explore globalization and intercultural thinking.
To get down to the specifics, the first activity, the globalization timeline was the first stepping stone in my globalization journey. Understanding how Western-centric I think really shocked me; in a sense I realized just how unaware we are of how the way we think can be incredibly biased to where we grew up. That project was also the first one where we worked in our intercultural teams. While the first meeting was uncomfortable, we were able to collaborate and debate with each other about our different (or similar) renditions for the globalization timeline. As a side note, I now still can’t decide is I spell globalization like “globalization” or “globalization” thanks to our debates, haha!
The next stepping stone was the photo essay, where I believe that we had to take that “shock” of our biased thinking, and apply unbiased thinking in our own community. My group was tasked with Ballston, and although it is an area I go to and see everyday, I never sought to question “how” or “why” things in Ballston are the way they are with respect to globalization. Even something as regular as public transportation has extreme evidence of globalization and it really did shock me once again. After that project, going home for thanksgiving, I found my self asking questions in the back of my head about globalization in my home community, and I think it really increased my global awareness as such.
I feel like the globalization time capsule kind of tied everything that we know about globalization together, and challenged us to come up with a future view of the world, unbiased to our cultures. Even with the training we received from the class, this exercise was hard; like I said you really have to jump out of your comfort zone with this class.
The same can be said about comfort zones with our class debates as well. I am a very stubborn and strong-willed person, and I am aware that I am sometimes very hard to persuade away from my opinions. With that being said, the class debates would sometimes get heated, but I think it allowed everyone to hear everyone; it caused me to take what I was hearing from my fellow students and truly analyze them. In turn, it allowed me to become more open as a person in general.
As far as advice to any student about to take this class, I would want them to know that this class is not easy. In fact, it was one of the hardest classes of my semester. And I don’t mean that by the amount of work or tests or papers we had to write (because we had no tests), but because of the amount of “out-of-the-box” thinking that had to take place. To be honest, the class was frustrating and sometimes I would get upset that I wasn’t “getting it,” but the purpose of the class is to help you understand. I think I realized that although it took time, I did finally start to understand the class. I truly appreciate everything I have learned in this class, and how I have learned it has played a tremendous role in how I view globalization today.