The GPS Narrative

The GPS Narrative



The GPS Narrative

SLO 3 demonstrate having knowledge and some understanding of at least one culture other than their own

Many Americans have to combine work and study and this means that they have to be strict on some issues. Many students work as a way of getting money for their upkeep. They have to find ways of combining their studies and their work. This means that they have to be strict on time and observe their schedules. This explains many of their conversation habits. They do not take the time to enquire about people’s welfare or family. I used to misinterpret this because I thought that they did not care. However, the more I spent time with them, the more I realized that they have so much to do. They have to study hard and ensure that they pass their exams. Many of them want to have fun and do other social activities. Many of them earn money to enable them to do this. Some of them only get help from their parents for their tuition but they have to work if they want to afford anything else. This explains why most of them have part time jobs

SLO 4 Knowing that communication styles vary by culture

Communication styles are very different. People’s way of talking varies by culture. Even if people are talking the same language, there will be some differences. I experienced this when I came here. Even though I understand English, I thought that people were talking too fast and they were asking many questions. I remember trying to have a conversation with a friend I met. She asked me many questions and she did not even wait for me to answer. She just kept on talking. I noticed that many people will ask questions but they do not always expect one to answer all of them. People here do not observe any formalities when talking. They are very casual about it. I am used to recognizing my elders and respecting them whenever I talk. I do not talk to them the same way I would talk to my friends. People here are very different. They way someone will talk to me is the same way he will talk to an adult. Any person can start a conversation and he or she can choose to do so in any way. Many people start with the informal greeting by saying Hey, and they continue with the conversation. Interruptions are common during conversations. A person does not have to wait for the other to stop talking before he or she interrupts. A person can interrupt a conversation to ask a question, seek clarification, make a suggestion, or even oppose the points being made. People here tend to be very argumentative. They can argue about anything. They do not always have to agree on everything. Sometimes many discussions do not end. When two people meet and they want to talk about something, they will ask directly. They do not hold any earlier conversations. I learnt from early on that people are not interested in knowing how one is when they greet them by saying hey. They just want a way to start a conversation. Another interesting thing is that people use their hands a lot when they talk. They use gestures as a way of enhancing what they are saying. This is common among the young and the old. They also have a tendency to look at each other directly, especially when they are asking questions. However, at other times, they will often talk to each other when they are in different rooms or when they are doing other activities.

SLO 5 demonstrate familiarity with communication styles and values of one culture other than their own

Learning how to adapt to the culture of the people was very challenging. This is because I am used to recognizing formality whenever I talk. I recognize people’s status, gender, age, and rank. Many people thought that I was polite because I kept quiet. Others thought I was slow because I took the time to listen before talking. In the end, I had not learnt how to adopt some of the practices. I continued practicing my old ways of conversing and interacting with others especially when I was talking with the adults. I recognize their formality and I only speak whenever necessary. However, I have changed the way I speak with my friends. As time went by, I learnt how to listen whenever they talk. I know when they want an answer to a question and when they are asking a question as a way of starting a conversation. I have become used to answering many of the questions they have about my country. I have also learnt some of the informal language that young people used among themselves. I realized that they can use some words amongst themselves but they will avoid using the same words when they are talking with the adults.

SLO 8 demonstrate the ability to collaborate effectively across cultures

I experienced new ways of doing things from the time I came here. I encountered and interacted with people from other cultures. They did not have the same perception as me. We differed on many issues especially concerning the way we worked. It was a humbling experience for me because I was in the minority. In a social group discussion, we shared the existing differences between our cultures. I had to answer many questions from the people I met. I also felt that I had to educate them concerning some issues. This is because they had limited information concerning my culture and they wanted to know more. Despite the differences, I realized that we had a lot in common. In formal discussions, I made little contribution because I felt that that the others knew more than I did. I felt challenged because of the attitude they demonstrated in their discussions. They worked hard and they maintained their schedules. They did not extend their time on one thing because they had many activities to do.

SLO 9 how the student crossed borders-how the cultural differences impacted the study

I have strong views concerning my beliefs but this does not mean that I do not adapt to change easily. I had to learn to adopt different perspective and mentality when I came here. I was willing to get new experiences, hence my decision for joining the program in the first place. Somehow, everything that people did looked different to me. This included the normal activities such as walking, shaking hands, and even eating. I noticed the minor differences when I first came here. I remember wondering why people were walking as if their heads were bowed down. Within a short time, I no longer noticed some of the minor differences. It is not that I talked to the people and urged them to stop behaving strangely. I realized that I learnt how to accommodate some of the differences. Within time, I was engaging in some of the behaviors. I noticed that my eating and walking patterns had changed.

SLO 10 Show an awareness of environmental and cultural responsibility

I contribute to the population of the institution and of the local community. I am among a number of foreign nationals in the institute and this has helped in its diversification. However, the small numbers of international students are not enough to change the people’s culture. Increased number of students in any academic semester changes the local scene. It highly influences businesses as students increase the local population. I do not use many resources as an individual. However, I am part of a larger population. This means that because of me, the available resources get finished more quickly. This may put a lot of pressure on the resources that the rest of the community has to share. The presence of tourists and businesses around the region has helped to improve the local environment. it has opened many opportunities for the people. Students are able to get part time employment because many businesses have opened in the region.   

SLO 11 demonstrate the ability to make connections between knowledge and skills acquired abroad and personal beliefs and professional ambitions

I have acquired many experiences since I came here. Some of these experiences confirm what I already know while others are a reflection of existing differences among cultures. The experiences I have acquired have changed some of the personal beliefs and sentiments I had. The knowledge I have acquired concerning people relations and interactions is very important. Of most importance is the fact that I have to see people as individuals and not as a group. I do not have to classify people based on the stereotypes I have had about them. During my visit, I have learnt that not all people conform to the said stereotypes. There are hardworking and lazy people here just as there are at home. One can find compassionate and caring people and not every person is self-centered. My experiences have taught me to have an open mind when interacting with other people. I believe that these lessons will be important for my future success. It will help me to be more aware of the threat of increased misunderstanding based on cultural ignorance.

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