Sunday, May 02, 2010

Intercultural most anything

The class I am taking at Rogue Community College, Intercultural Communication, has been very interesting. For the Introduction to Intercultural Communication class at Elmhurst College in Illinois, they had a Family History assignment. Most of the folks in the class I am taking in Medford, Oregon, I think are taking it because they expect to work in situations where sensitivity and intercultural understanding would help. I dare say though that most families in the United States have many cultures and nationalities that have gone into their family history. Yes, researching family history is interesting, and can be addictive. It may be fattening, too, if you approach it through a cookbook and recipe project :-)

Intercultural Communication has many facets. There are Intercultural or Multicultural Festivals scheduled throughout the year, with various ethnic and religious holidays for the occaision. Music, dance, foods, costumes, customs - these are great first exposures - any excuse for a party, or to sell something - but if you have friends, or family who have cultures that are different than yours make time to learn about their culture. A person's culture is important to them, an important key to understanding them.

Family history is a great framework for learning about the cultural makeup of a person. Quick, interview your elders and find out what they remember about how they were raised, where they were raised, by whom they were raised! There are fascinating stories out there! Don't let them just become family myths. ("Someone somewhere said something about....") Put down those clues for further research as you record those interviews, and ask them about their family heirlooms. It is the stories that are the most precious. The other things are the props for the story telling. Have you learned to retell the stories yet for your children and grandchildren? No? I guess you need to go hear those stories Again! :-) Take a child with you to visit your elders. They will remember it. Who do you remember visiting?

There is a culture of generations. This is intercultural communication.


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