Blog Post #7 – What have you learned in the course?

I remember when I was first assigned this class over the summer, I was extremely confused as to what it was.  When I went to the first day of classes, however, I was very excited to learn what this class was all about. I came to college with the goal of seeking to understand new perspectives, and this class seemed to be just the place to do it. Each assignment was a learning experience all its own. To be completely honest, I was underwhelmed by the first assignment on introductions. I was expecting to get a culture shock, but was completely taken aback by just how similar we were. While this wasn’t the culture shock I was expecting to get, it increased my understanding of the extent of globalization by the face-value similarity between everyone in my group.

The globalization timeline literally made me consider and understand the process of globalization, and I was able to combine it with my knowledge of history to gain a deeper understanding. The communication for this project was difficult, as the time difference and my groups schedules were difficult to work around. Google Docs was a huge help for us getting the work done on time, as it automatically updated and allowed for us to all work on it at once. It’s almost as if Google Docs had international and intercultural communication in mind. I also grew to understand the difference in intercultural communication especially entailing to history and education; what I may have learned about history and how I connect it to globalization is greatly influenced by what was communicated to me about history via my education. This did make it somewhat difficult for the intercultural collaboration, because sometimes Natasha or Caspar would add something to the timeline I didn’t understand the connection to, or vice versa.

The photo essay was really similar to the globalization timeline, but I learned a lot about intercultural communication and its relationship to technology especially through the Spacetime Layers app. Globalization and intercultural communication is facilitated by many technologies. For example, when I was researching the Synagogue in Groningen, I found that many of the websites that contained information I needed were in Dutch. However, google automatically translated the page for me, and I was able to get everything I needed from a website that wasn’t even intended to be in the language I speak. Also I learned that people are always looking to further facilitate intercultural communication by creating new technologies such as the Spacetime Layers app.

Even the globalization timeline for the future has me thinking about globalization and intercultural communication. I have a rather grim view on the world, and I think that I see this as the negative outcome of globalization and intercultural communication. I see hate crimes happening when cultures clash, global wars that threaten to end the planet, and so many other pessimistic outcomes for the future. My teammates, however were able to show me some of the positive outcomes globalization could bring. I could see countries and cultures working together to make the world a better place, along with the exchange of technologies and cultures in a positive manner. That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how I see the future, but I think it speaks to the difference in culture between me and my teammates and the success and communication between us.

Globalization and intercultural communication are practically the same thing. They both influence each other, as globalization is intensified or lessened by the potency of intercultural communication and globalization is what allows for intercultural communication to take place at all.

The timelines have played the largest role in changing the way I think about the world. When I was working on them, I often found myself imposing my American point of view on it, by making events specific to the United States. When I caught myself doing this, I even struggled to come up with a point that was more globally inclusive. Even at the beginning of the semester, when we were simply exploring what globalization was, it was bugging me that there were no non-western views on globalization. Thoughts like these are what is driving me to do my tutorial next semester on non-western and globally south perspectives on globalization with Dr. Bakker.

It’s really important to show up to classes, not only physically, but mentally. Chances to communicate face-to-face with your fellow group members are rare. Also, don’t be afraid to be creative, and think outside of the box! Some assignments can be vague, so you should use that to take the assignment where you want it to go. The most important piece of advice I would have to offer someone taking this class next year is: no matter how open you think your mind is, it can be more open, and you should let it expand. I thought I was very open-minded and globally thinking before I came to this class, but I discovered just how wrong I was. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; instead, I see it as an opportunity to see more and further open my mind.

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