Honestly, after reading and watching this weeks assigned texts, it did make me question my reasons for wanting to engage in not only doing service-learning programs, but international ones as well. I could definitely see where they were coming from. A lot of times, people engage in things to make themselves seem more precious than they really are. It’s like, they don’t help people for the people benefit, they do it for their benefit. And posting on social media for others to see them participating in these international programs, gives them comfort to make it feel like they’re doing something right. It is also true that individuals, especially those that have more money than the average family, makes sure their kids participate in some type of fancy service-learning program, but, while they boast on instagram, they forget to not only help and care about what they’re doing internationally, they forget to help out with things that are going on in their own backyards. Although many aren’t passionate about their services, depending on your internal goals and motivations, you can definitely still engage in international volunteering experiences and do more good than harm. It honestly all just depends on you. There are people in this world that genuinely want to give back, with no cell phones or personal satisfaction. Some people really want to just help.
My opinion about international service in a way because it made me question whether people are actually going overseas to do good or they just doing it so they sound good on their college essay. This makes me sick in a way because I always thought people were doing missions trips or service- learning, actually did it for the good of their heart. Also, it made me realize that students should not be going to missions trips just so they could go to an exotic country and volunteer there. I did a lot of volunteering when I was in high school and middle school and I did it in the safety of town or nearby. Through this, I knew I made an impact on the children I helped and my community.Yes, it possible for an international volunteer experience to do more good than harm especially if the person who is going is doing it out of a warm heart and not just to look good on college letters. This can happen if the person goes to a country where they are need of help such as countries in Africa or Latin America. Who are facing some of the most tragic events in history.
If we participated in research, service learning, or internship aboard, what kind of jobs will we be doing exactly?
Also, what depending on the country we go to, do we have the option of housing? Especially if we are doing an internship?
Before reviewing week 9s readings, I was under the idea that volunteering overseas (specifically in an underdeveloped nation) was a very helpful, and needed, service. Now, however, my opinion has shifted. There was a girl who went to my high school, who I had many classes with. She was very open about her faith, which called upon its members to participate in overseas service (like volunteering with orphanages, repairing villages or help build communities). She went to a village in Africa, and the entire time posted pictures on social media with captions like, “my new family :)” “never want to leave” or “wish I could take them home with me!” I always felt odd, and a little uncomfortable with her captions… To me, I felt like she was only posting those pictures as a ‘social media boost.’ She thinks of herself as those kids savior (and yes, she says that whenever she tells her story). To me, it’s just bad taste.
I think it is possible to have a successful international volunteer trip. I think it just has to be correctly planned out by directors that know the correct way to go about volunteering. Its also important to ‘train’ the volunteers well before the trip (i.e. avoid a debriefing about the trip and the do’s and dont’s while in the airport on the way).
An incredible point that all of the readings highlighted was a con about the volunteer work. I never thought about the impact of having volunteers coming in and working with children, then getting up and leaving. If it bothers me having friends come in and out of my life, I cannot even imagine what it must be like for those children.
- What steps did you take to go about this service learning program ‘the right way’ (i.e. doing more good than harm with the volunteer work)
- Do you feel like you made a significant impact with the people/community that you volunteered with? If yes, what specifically did you do that you believe made the impact?
I believe that I’m apart of the Acceptance phase because I have yet to experience the spectrum of diversity. This leads to feeling uncomfortable in different social norms since I wouldn’t understand what may seem normal to them . It will definitely open my eyes to how people interact dailyand then ill be able to become more open minded in those situations.
I think I’m in stage 5 on the Intercultural development chart, which is Adaptation. I’m really big on empathizing and understanding so I think it fits me down to a T. I don’t feel threatened by other cultures in anyway. I definitely think I could still do some growing though. I am, although, accepting and can assimilate easier. This is why out of all the other ones, I chose stage 5.
I think that I am at Stage 4 (acceptance) of intercultural development. I grew up in northern Virginia, which is a very diverse area. Given this, I have had many opportunities to improve my intercultural development and I do not feel threatened by the differences of others. I am a little apprehensive about changing my own behavior to adopt to another culture. I have a very strong American identity and I don’t feel comfortable changing my identity.
I believe that I would fall within the adaptation stage. I feel this because when it comes to other people’s culture and values, I am understanding and I can adapt.Another thing is that I am capable of acting within more than one cultural frame of reference. Since an early age, I was exposed to different cultures and learned to accept that there are different cultures in the world. By this, I have come not to feel threatened when faced with new cultures because I learned that new cultures and values help one expand their views on society and how they interact with others.
After reading ‘A Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity’ I believe I currently fall under the acceptance stage. I understand that there are people with cultures that are completely different than mine. I get that there is so much more to a persons culture than them, for example, not tipping. Culture is not something that can be easily explained. It’s, like Bennett said, “fluid and dynamic.” I’m interested in just what makes my culture different from someone from, say, the middle east. I don’t feel that just because someone has a different culture than me, that I should feel intimidated. There are still some parts of some cultures that don’t exactly scare me, more that I don’t fully understand, although I don’t judge that behavior or feel threatened. I would like to say that I’m, once again as Bennett said, “…Culturally sensitive, [and] are tolerant and have a sympathetic attitude.” I feel like while I’m in my host country for my semester abroad, I could fit into the intergration stage. I would pick up small parts of Malta’s culture and adapt to ‘fit in.’ I would adjust part of my culture, but still remain who I am.
I don’t really know anything as of now about Spain. I haven’t done much of my research yet. I have never actually been there yet either. I don’t know anyone personally who has lived or even visited Spain before. I don’t know of any stereotypes for Spain’s culture. I can take another Spanish class if I’d like to further my knowledge with Spanish that will help me while I’m there. The books I would read to learn more about their culture and history would be “Don Quixote”, “Homage to Catalonia”, “The Shadow of The Wind”, “The Color of a Dog Running”. I don’t know of any news sources yet for Spain. I have seen Pan’s Labyrinth. I took three classes of Spanish in High School and one in Middle School. In order to become better, I can read the books and study and keep up with the news once I find a reliable source I like.
What other languages may be used and how can I learn this new language(s) to help me?
What is the weather like and what clothes will I need to bring with us?
What kind of transportation is available to my area and how much will it cost?
What things do I need to be aware of like dangers?
What are specialties I need to experience before leaving Spain?
What time periods are good for doing certain activities like shopping or eating and where may the best places be for this?
What are the people like (welcoming, not welcoming, snappy, rude, nice) towards visitors?
Who should I contact in case of emergency?
What can I do to fit in with locals and culture?
Is there anything that may be considered rude or anything along those lines that typical Americans wouldn’t view as rude in our culture? (quirks, behaviors, certain language, etc.)
The program destination I have in mind is Greece. I want to go to Greece because it offers a lot of classes for my major and, who wouldn’t want to go to Greece? I think it’s probably one of the coolest and unusual places to go nowadays. The most I know about Greece is from the basics you learn in history class, the Parthenon, the Acropolis of Athens, the whole nine yards. I’ve also seen and learned about Greece from movies, such as 300, and many more. Even though I’m pretty sure movies aren’t the best way to portray Greece in it’s modern time, the history of Greece is still cool. I also love watching and reading about Greek mythology. I think greek mythology could be considered a stereotype. I feel like a lot of people when they think of Greece, automatically think of them as toga wearing, 12 God having people, even though it was so long ago. Actually, Greece has a large proportion of Christian Orthodox. Although I don’t know much about Greece, I really want to explore and learn more about the culture and language. I think that’s another reason I’m pulling towards Greece so much. I have never traveled there or even met anyone that has been there. I have no knowledge of any news sources or anything related to that.
- Even though one of their most learned foreign languages is English, will it be enough to get me by while I’m there?
- What’s the common currency used?
- How much free time will we have to explore?
- If given a lot of opportunities to explore, is it more individually driven or in a more group setting?
- Is there anyway to volunteer in Greece or do some type of service learning while doing my studies?
- Whats would be my main method of transportation?
- Would it be more expensive to live in the dorms/ apartments to natives or other exchange students like me?
- What would be my total cost of my whole stay?
- Do you tip in Greece?
- How open are the natives to foreigners, and how do they view Americans.