All posts by ks14

Cultural Identities Case Study

Scenario 1:

What cultural factors are at play here? Who can you talk to about this? What are some strategies that you can use to handle this situation?

I’ve noticed that some cultures don’t respect women and individualize them. Some men even see them as possessions and heavily enforce their male dominance.  I would report that I was being followed at night and let my host family and friends know about the situation for my safety. I recommend being accompanied by someone when you go on your nightly walks. This person would prefer to be male so that the other men will at least stop harassing you. Since I’ve never been a quitter I would address the situation as best as I can to prevent any discouragement from accomplishing the main goal of learning a new language.

Week 11 & 13: Thanksgiving

I talked to my family about my desire t travel and study abroad over Thanksgiving break. I received many questions about where I would like to go and how I was going to make it happens. I mostly received good feedback for my ambitions and wanted to make sure I was ready to make such a commitment. I understand that the questions they asked were out of the safety and concern of my well being and I felt really thankful for my family and their positivity towards it.

Week 11: Global Education

    • Part 1:  I think that it’s more difficult to make friends when you’re coming from a foreign country because of its a different culture in our society then what they’re used to. Like was mentioned in the article that it can be daunting to muster up th courage to  speak to someone who uyoure not familiar seeing. I have never met with an internatiional student before however i believe that it is highly possible. I think that its important to spread awareness to people who doesnt understand what it means to be in a differnt country. Most Americans haven’t been introduced to that concept before so I think that its better of explaining to them what that student is going through in order for people to have a better understanding

    • Part 2:  I have heard of culture shock before and I felt that coming to VCU was one of my first expierience with that. In the begininng i thought it was so exciting to be on campus and to see many diverse poeple but after awhile it became overwhelming. I think he make a valid point about the process you go through while expiereincing culture shock and that i will more than likely expierience the same challenge. The “American Phrasebook” was actually legit. I never noticed how our culture was potrayed by foriegners however its something I’m more aware of today. I realized that most Americans only know so much about our own values in society and don’t care to learn much about others. I think that one phrase a foreigner might get confused about is our dramatic expressions about minor things. For example, “You’re killing me” or “Im dead/Im weak” which all mean that something is hilarious but it may seem like we perceive death as something to laugh at.

    • Part 3:  I believe that its impossible to have a global experience if you don’t accept challenges and get out of your comfort zone. Accepting changes into you life will ultimately allow you to grow as a human being with having a broader view of the world. Its necessary to get out of your bubble and get into someone else’s world. Studying abroad will open your eyes to actually feel and see how different it is to be somewhere you don’t recognize. Staying in a local and familiar place will not give you that same experience.

    • Part 4:  After reading the article in the Atlantic, I reflected on the questions that were posted in the last paragraph. I find it odd to ask such questions comparing U.S minorities and international students because thats two completely different topics. I understand that college is a business and its there job advertise diversity but I think thats its just unfair to have that comparison because its difficult to be on just one side.

Professional Interview Assignment

While conducting this interview I was enlighten about the experiences wen through during the international confrence meetings and how this was “one of the most humbling expieriences of her life.”  Dr. Kristanah B Hood is an assistant Professor here at VCU and teaches statistics and Pyschology. She has a lab which focuses on the ethical practices of medical school (especially the MCV campus)  and also relates her work to race related stress, gender roles in different races and cultures influence on health.

    1) How can a B.S in Psychology correlate with work abroad?
    “There are many non profits that you can volunteer with such as teach for america. it takes your holistic expiereinces and puts you i places to explore options”
    2)What differences have you noticed with the way you percieve work related endeavors here vs other countries?
    “While being in Kenya, I had to drink tea with milk in it at least four times a dy atregular intervals because it would be seenrude not to join them for tea duingt the break…..,I also had to wear a dress everyday because the women were held to different limitations as to what they can wear”

3) What was it like traveling to cpuntries alone as a young black woman?

    The context is differnt from other countries…,” She told me while she was in turkey that she didnt know whether or not her skin coloror her culture offended people. She also stated that whileshe visted Berlin that many of the black people were servants from what she witnessed.
    4)What are the preparations/planning behind visting alomst every continent? How was it possible?
    “It takes me six months to a year to plan for  a trip.., its important to have your passport and visa.”She also states how the she came from a working class background that she had to experience missing work in other responsiblities at home.
    5)What some things that youll never forget from being in a foreign country?
    While being in Kenya, they were traveling in a van on a dirt path that was abruptly stopped by the police. There was a protocol which was to kneel and to keep your headd down. This was so that police wouldn’t spot the American(Dr.Hood) on the van. The police took a native man off the bus, beat him on the dirt road then dragged him off into the woods. She remembers thinking that she wasn’t going to make it homw and feared for the mans life as well.  The man was never seen again unfortunatly.

Week 10: The Danger of a Single Story

We, as Americans, percieve people in foreign countries as a single story because of lack of interest like in the media and society of other countries for example. We are not aware of the civil wars or major issues and we also do not   accept other walks of life as much as we think we do. Its common to accept foreiners being here yet we feel uncomfortable for there lack of fluent English and social normality. We jugde them and feel a certain pity for what we believewhat third world countries are like. The most televised perception of Africa is the charitable commericials about starving tribes and lack of water or healthcare is there country. We here about theoutreak of disease and plague however we do not of any possible simalarites that we have dispite of the many english speaking or successful people thriving in Africa. Our stories are taught through Europeanized history and how they feel some people as not even human becasue of skin color. In school, we also didn’t learn about other cultures and policies that exist. We are taught how to be a privaleged American and how to work hard for yourself in order to achieve a certain social status. This is one reason as to why others may view Amercans as ignorant.

Week 9: Ethical Global Engagement

I never knew that volunteerwork could cause such an controversy. I know that Americans are seen as the first at “helping out” but at the same time we can cause more damage than before by interfering with foreign countries.  I believe that the issue focuses more about the image people pursue than the service. If a person chooses to serve others on the basis of benefiting themselves then that completely highlights how poeple seek opportunities to make themselves look better. Some may not even know the facade that they are publishing to the public. If your heart was really for the people, it can still seem as though you are trying to glorify the volunteer aspect becasue you left your Amercan privalege for a short time while the people you are helping never experience that. The media in American will eat that up. I f they see how you went to a third world country and made it back a “changed person” everyone will want to hear your story. I dont believe it’s righ however people still do it. The internation service programs should be a way to fulfilling ones soul and proving that same feeling to another person by shwing dedication, not by glorification.

Week 10: Intercultural Development

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.

Week 7: Existing Knowledge and Questions About Host Country/Culture

Part One:

I recieved an email from the KHS advising staff about the VCU Spring Break: Jamaica Community Health Promotion Service Learning trip a couple of days ago and it really sparked my attention! This trip is a week long service adventure that helps to aid children and the commoners in Negril about education and health awareness. I have never heard of Negril, Jaimaica yet there was a presentation about it in class the day that we had the student guess speakers. I don’t remember her name but i talked the girl who went on the trip after class ended because I became very interested in participating. She expressed how it actually didn’t cost as much as I thought it would. I’ve never traveled to the Negril nor have I ever been out of the country. VCU offers many course in Foreign languages however there was one course that caught my attention.  The course is listed as FRLG 100 and is equivalent to one credit hour.  The main objective was to bring awareness to cultural and language awareness. I found that this would be highly effective with the travels I wish to go on. I believe that the language is english however there is a strong dialect which is hard to interpret.

Part Two:

    1. What types of dishes are most prominent?
    2. What are the social norms?
    3. What is the value of U.S currency in Jamaica?
    4. Who governs the city?
    5. What types of native wildlife and insects inhabit there?
    6. How far are they within the technology advancement?
    7. What are the demographics?
    8. What alliance do they have with the U.S?
    9. How high is the crime rate?
    10. What is the most prominent crime commited?


Week 6: Financial Aid 101

The Nafsa website had a lot of resourceful information pertaining to different ways my financial aid would affect how much it would cover. I discovered that being afull time student is one of the effective ways to recieve the most out of my financial aid. So I would have to be a full time sstudent during my travels. I hope to participate in a volunteer opportunity abroad so that I can maintain my schooling here. The best advice they gave was to contact my financial advisor make sure I am able to afford the trip. I believe that this type of funding is related mostly associated with spending a semester in a different country and thats not something i’m looking into.


Mock Scholarship Application Essay

Part one:

I have always watched shows where the main characters would travel on a extragavant trip across the world. I admired the beautiful sites and often pondered on how amazing a trip beyond the american borders would be. It was one of the things i believed to be out of reach for me. How could i possibly go somewhere i knew little about? I thought of the confusion and frustration it could possibly lead to when traveling to a foreign country. I decieded that my fears of not understanding the unknown will strenghten who i am as a person therefore i made the choice to tak on studying abroad.

I am really interested in trying new things. I hope to see the scenery in person that ive only seen on television.  Along with new sights and smells, i will have a new identity there. To others i will seem as the foreigner for once. I will get to expierience the other side of the scope . Will i be treated differently based of what i look like and how little i know. I have yet to recieve these questions personally because i am used to seeing people who look like me. Along with this i believe that its apart of my lifes purpose to figure this out.  I would like to explore the concept of being introduced to a different enviorment.

In the start of middle school we were introduced to taking a foriegn language course. I chose to take spanish because my mother urged me to do so. I was given french instead even though i intially picked spainish. After taking the course during my last two years in middle school, i became increasingly interested in french culture. I loved the how the dialect of french sounds like a melody everytime someone speaks. I thought that the history was very interesting as well from Mary Antoinette’s “let them eat cake”  to Napolean which is famously known as a short fellow with bad temper.

Traveling to France was my primary goal however I didnt know what my plans were when i go there. Luckily i decided that going to college and traveling to france could be accomplished. I picked the UNIV 291 course to help me with figuring out my next steps in the big idea. I was hoping that i can possibly live and go to school in france to feel like a normal student there. I have become accustomed to french culture over the years by learing about it from middle through high school.  I hope to explore the coursework and live with a couple of people from the university.  One program that caught my eye was the African American studies course in france which i would throughly enjoy. I would perfer to be taught in english at first because I am not fluent in french.

I found that there are many set backs to traveling so far from home. I feel that there are instances in which I would be secluded from everyone else because I am not fluent in the system. I would have many questions that i fear i would have to figure out myself. Aside from not understandinf how that process works, I will also have to figure out how to not loose myself by indulging myself in so many things. I believe that I may become heavily overwhelmed and wouldnt enjoy my expierience. This is one of the reasons i beilieve that its impairitive to find out how traveling the distance would really impact who i am as a person. I will have to incorporate ways to satify my needs that inlcude my pescatarian diet. Along with dietary needs, I believe that my major would also influence what courses I would take which I am thinking about changing next year.

Part two:

The proposal for this project involve inviting minority students to learn more about different ways to afford traveling out of the country. I believe that there are options to study abroad with the cheaper options but some are not aware of it. My goal is to get more people involved with in the process and the adventure!

I hope to integrate this into my traveling expierience by meeting french speaking natives that are also a minority group and getting there input of how studying abroad would be different to them in that circumstance.  I would assume that the process is much different in France then in the U.S.  Hopefully I can use this to persuade others that traveling can be a fufliing expierience.

I wish to integrate the financial aid office and the study abroad adivsors to talk about the possibly opportunities these students would be eligible for. I beileve that incoprating these two orgainizations would overall benefit my project. It would be an opportunity to inform students that have interests in traveling but express the same questions as I do.