Blog #7

When the concept of this class was first revealed I was both excited and anxious about what the course would have in store for me over the semester. I was eager to work with students from the Netherlands but had reservations because of the possible difficulties from our different cultures. However my original beliefs were not true and I enjoyed doing each project with all of my group members. Throughout the course, I learned from each project and became not only to learn about globalization from research, but was able to experience firsthand. The experience I had in this class was important because it taught me how to expand my perspectives in academia while learning to work with many different individuals and cultures. Our first project, the Global Timeline, was the hardest for my group but also the most beneficial. I did not have a very strong understanding of globalization before this project. I believed that globalization only had to do with business and the idea of importing and exporting goods. Therefore I was surprised after reading Rennen and Martens’ globalization timeline, that globalization was rather all encompassing. This revelation made me evaluate my own personal experiences and I was shocked to realize how prevalent globalization was in my life without even knowing it. From small aspects of my life like social media to big aspects such as foreign products, globalization is evident in my everyday life. When our group started working on the project I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work and the vague instructions. In high school I had always preferred to work alone because it was less problematic than dealing with the issues of group members. Originally I had this preference in the beginning of the class, but as we did each project I began to appreciate working with my group members and understand the importance of intercultural collaboration. The directions of the assignment were intentionally made vague because it causes our group to communicate with each other about the expectations of our project. In the beginning our group struggled with communication and it reflected in our timeline’s first grade. Our group didn’t understand the importance that the project was worked on together and allowed for difficulties with technology and between members to affect our quality of work. However when we worked on the revised version, we reconnected as a group and changed our actions to reflect a globalized interaction. One concept that I learned from this project was the idea that globalization is important but it cannot be addressed as local interactions are. One of the detriments of our group was we originally collaborated as if all the group members were present in the local class. However this process did not work and we had to accommodate every member because of the global classroom. Therefore, intercultural interactions are important and difficult to maintain, but our group yielded more successful results when we collaborated globally rather than locally. In addition, the globalization timeline increased my understanding of the extent of globalization in the history of different nations. When doing the project I was able to reflect on my understanding of history that I learned in school. Throughout the timeline, I talked to the Dutch members about my perspective of history on globalization and was surprised at some difference in our beliefs and perspective on important events. From the timeline, I learned that cultural differences do not generally make it difficult to work with others, but cause the integration of different perspectives on topics. These differences are communicate in a globalized group and while a common consensus does not have to be made, each member gains a stronger understanding of globalization. For the photo project, it was a more interactive project that forced our group to search for examples of globalization in our local community. I thoroughly enjoyed this project because it forced me to look at my local community and find aspects of globalization that were both obvious and hidden. My group members and I enjoyed walking around lee highway and talking to different business owners about their stores. I was inspired by many of their stories about how they emigrated from their home countries and created their businesses in order to expand their culture to others in America. In addition, I was able to observe early examples of globalization from different churches and statues that commemorate important events in Arlington’s history. I was interested that when we saw the photos from Groningen, they were vastly different from ours. This project showed me that globalization is evident in many different nations in varying types of ways. The Netherlands is a prominent shipping country and that trait could be observed in many of the photos from the Dutch members photos. Being a shipping country does not only affect Groningen as a part of economic globalization, but also in environmental, cultural, and political aspects of globalization. On the other hand, Lee highway showed examples of globalization in its people because the population of immigrants is increasing every year. Many of the photos taken in Arlington were of cultural shops and businesses owned by immigrants who were expanding their culture to outside individuals. This activity showed me the concepts of van Asperan’s us-them dynamics and how globalization was combatting that mentality. Our last project is a combination of everything we have already learned in this class. The timeline we studied the past events of globalization, the photo essay we studied the prevalence of globalization in the present, and lastly we are now studying the future of globalization in our opinions. This project is one of my favorites because it allows for our group to predict what we think will happen to globalization in the future. Its fascinating to think about how the world will advance in 50 years and how the different aspects of globalization (political, economic, environmental, cultural, and technology) will cause certain changes. In addition, the collaboration between members was intriguing because many of our members have different outlooks on how the future is. Some of our members are optimistic, some are pessimistic, and its fun to combine the perspectives to try to make a future as realistic as possible. The rise of globalization is accompanied by an increase in alliances and collaboration. Communication skills development has always been an important factor of success in global groups, but the influence of globalization and cross-cultural interaction in recent decades has impacted the types of communication skills needed in dramatic ways. Today, people need to understand the dynamics of long-distance collaboration, the impact of culture on manners of speaking and body language, and how to use technology to communicate with people on the other side of the globe. Understanding the impact of globalization on each of these factors can help you to select the most useful communication skills development programs for yourself and your group. As globalization increases intercultural process will become necessary and its important for people to understand how to work with people of other nationalities and cultures. Intercultural interactions allow for work to contain multiple perspectives, thus allowing new projects and initiatives to have the possibility of being more encompassing of different nations. One moment in the class that I found extremely eye opening was a conversation I had with my group about expectations of project and how work should be completed. Our group struggled the first project working with each other so we had an intervention to communicate our frustrations with each other. I remember talking to our Dutch group members about the work and they offered amazing advice on how they address the projects. As a freshman in college I find that I am stilled worked about aspect of education that were important in high school such as grades and GPA. When talking to the Dutch members they understood my worries but communicated to me the importance of not learning about projects just for a good grade but to truly understand the work. With both of the Dutch members graduating this year, they offered advice on how to address these projects. There advice really changed my way of thinking about completing projects and gaining knowledge from class. I began to take the class as a life skill rather than just addressing it as a requirement to graduate. From this, I have learned numerous beneficial things about globalization and how to use it in everyday life. From this revelation I realized that intercultural collaboration is important because it allows for the sharing of different perspectives between culture in order to benefit every member of a group. Lastly, what I would tell future students taking this course is to be patient with the class. The information learned in this class is very important, but it is not easily understood. At the beginning of the class I was overwhelmed by the amount of information we were addressing about globalization and could not fully grasp all concepts. It wasn’t until we started doing projects and building on our lessons that I slowly began to understand what globalization truly was and why it was important in modern society. Each project builds on itself and its important to put an effort in for each project because the information you learn from a previous project will be used in the proceeding project. In addition, I would advise the students to work closely with their group members from the Netherlands. Our group experienced the most success when we collaborated with all the group members and communicated problems and concerns. Its important to show up to each class and group meeting physically and mentally ready to learn. This class is interactive and class attendance is extremely important. The projects assigned can be vague but they only show the importance of intercultural collaboration between the members. Don’t be afraid to ask your group members questions and pose ideas that are creative and outside the box. Mostly importantly I would advise future students to be willing to change their perspectives and numerous beliefs they have already learned. This class is going to challenge common conception you hold and in order to truly learn you have to be willing to critically analyze other cultures and perspectives without being bias from past beliefs.

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