Blog Post #7: Course Reflection

To be honest, at the beginning of this course I thought that globalization was simply putting something not traditionally American or traditionally familiar to that of the specific country and calling it an integration of globalization. To think that globalization had 5 dimensions was fascinating to me; furthermore, to think that it was a concept we are still progressing towards interested me as well. I remember in class, a classmate of mine suggested that our current President had wanted to pull the United States from a specific activity (which, I believe had something to do with recycling) and when we discussed it further, we found that it would be quite detrimental to our country. Globalization has become such an essential aspect to our country that without it, we wouldn’t achieve “true American culture.” Funny enough, the Van Asperen article talked about monism and how there are people who believe different cultures could not coexist to cumulatively formulate one united culture; in other words, there has to be one specific one. This, however, is not true. My view on the world was reconsidered and my way of thinking as I read his Intercultural Paradox article because I had no idea that I had fostered as “us-them” dynamic (especially considering I’m an immigrant) when looking at other ethnically foreign establishments around me.  A further exemplification of monism was even within our own intercultural teams. At the start of the term, we had difficulties holding each other accountable and creating a team contract because of the different cultural work ethics – the Netherlands seem more laid back and easy going while those in the US were tight on schedule! As a group, when making our team rules, we felt we had to choose: should we be more laid back or should we do things as soon as possible? Intercultural communication was challenging at first too. Jody and Jonas spoke English extremely well but felt pressured when it came to assignments. They, too, believed that there was one right way of writing and felt hesitant when writing for our assignments because they didn’t think their “English was good enough,” or that they, “knew enough.” As a team, we had to encourage each other and to motivate one another to stay on top of our game or else we knew that our assignments suffered the most. Our busy schedules also were a challenge when it came to communicating. Not only are the different time zones sometimes hindering to our meet-ups but we were such a diverse cohort filled with seniors, sophomores and a freshman with athletes, interns, full time employees all in one small group! We had to be considerate of one another’s lives and what they deem appropriate, such as, “Can we text/call in the evening? After school? What are the best times to meet-up?” Presentations went smoothly considering we’re a group who, although have different personalities, had individuals who loved to talk so it wasn’t difficult to ensure that everyone’s voice was being heard. Our team discussions were always so fun because we’d ask each other how their break/weekend/week went. It was wonderful knowing that although we all had different lives, we all had one thing in common – we were students just trying to learn something new! It was definitely new having to tinker with a virtual meet-up considering it was difficult to set up at first but because globalization and technology had made it much easier for us, it was smooth sailing after the first web meet-up. Our first assignment, the Globalization Timeline, was definitely an obstacle for us. We had to understand how each person worked in a group, determining their strengths and weaknesses. Next, when there were revisions needed to be done, we really had to go back to our team contract and ask ourselves how we should go about any hardships within the group. While the timeline itself wasn’t difficult to compose, learning how to work as an intercultural team was the major thing we learned from that assignment. The Photo Essay was interesting to visualize what our communities looked like and how globalization occurred all throughout. Although Arlington and Groningen are small, the evidence of globalization varied widely! Having to work as groups “off classroom hours” we anticipated to be difficult because of the busy schedules but eventually, we learned how to segment our time wisely and use each other as resources. Finally, our Globalization Timeline for 2050 seems to be going smoothly so far. Learning from our past challenges, we found out what works best for us: communication, communication, and communication! One moment that opened my eyes was when we did a group discussion with both the US and the Netherlands. To think that we all had similar ideas, even though we were in two different countries, was amazing! I loved how it felt like the screen wasn’t even between us but rather like we were one class in one classroom. Another moment that was eye opening was when we first streamed our web meet-up. Technology had brought global classrooms into one area and it left me in awe as we were able to interact from miles away. My advice for future students is to trust and to take seriously the word “team.” Our team would not have been successful if we didn’t communicate, cooperate, and constantly check up on one another. When you feel as though your team isn’t working out, it helps to refer back to the contract and to have a meeting with your team. As long as everyone is accountable and responsible, you will always find success!

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