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International Intensive Elective – Language and Culture

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Assessment 2 – Intercultural Reflections Report

Purpose:

This task asks you to reflect on your initial expectations first and then a specific aspect of the host country’s cultures in order to gain a deeper understanding of it and your own culture(s). A deep reflection on your learning as well as an analysis of cultural aspects of the host culture and its relevance in the home cultures is required. The aim of a reflection is to make you sensitive to new experiences, what is confronting/ interesting/ different and how does this makes you rethink your assumptions.

Task:

After you revisit your expectations statement and briefly reflect on your initial expectations, critically analyse a specific language or communication related practice or aspect you witnessed or became aware of during your overseas placement and analyse the cultural practices, values and norms related to them. Reflect on how this experience has influenced the way you think about communication and linguistic practices in the light of your home cultures and in your future professional self.

Follow these steps and guidelines to complete this major assessment task:

1. Briefly introduce your program and overseas destination and provide an overview sentence about this report (no more than 3-4 sentences).

2. Read over the 500-words expectation statement written before departure and write a reflection on it. This could be about:

• how accurate your initial expectations were;

• what was surprising, unexpected or challenges;

• how it compare to previous experiences with the host cultures or with a similar program;

• what insights you gained into language and communication practices and how you gained them.

• If you have been to your destination before or have a family background from the same culture, you might want to reflect on what you found to be different/similar this time.

• Also, your own history with other cultures, of living abroad, migrating etc. might be worth reflecting on in this task.

(~ 300 words)

International Intensive Elective – Language and Culture Assessment Brief 2 - Intercultural Reflections Report

3. The main part of your reflection report should focus on ONE specific language or communication-related practice or interaction you witnessed during your overseas placement. This can be any topic that is related to linguistics or communication (written and oral communication conventions, non-verbal communication, communication behaviour at uni/in classes, hierarchies, formality/informality, politeness, dialects and different registers, gender/class differences in communication, Creole/Pidgin languages/other language influences etc.)

• Describe the event or practice from your perspective, mention its frequency and how you perceived its importance and meaning.

• What was your emotional reaction to this?

• Flip the perspective and describe these aspects about the people that were involved. You may provide different perspectives and explanations for this practice using background information on underlying cultural values, norms and behavioural practices and explore where they come from, how they were shaped and influenced, what importance they have in every day situations or specific situations and how and why people continue to follow these norms. You must go beyond description to analyse the why and how.

• Aspects of change or differing levels of importance and meaning, or behaviours might be explored as well as underlying power differences and socio-political aspects and issues that might result from them.

(~800 words)

4. In the last part, reflect on your learning through the above practice or event and how it has influenced your thinking (and acting) on similar aspects in your home cultures:

• How do you practice this aspect and how is it important to you or others in your culture(s), or why is it not important or practiced? What did this experience reveal about your ‘home’ culture(s)?

• Where did your thinking about it originate from, are there common stereotypes and generalisations prevalent in your community/country, or what are underlying discourses about this cultural aspect in your country?

(~400 words)

Finish with a final comment considering these questions: Have you noticed any changes in your attitudes or behaviour? How has this aspect impacted on the overall perception and learning through your overseas experience? What do you take away from this experience, how will it be useful in the future (workplaces, communities, personal development?)

International Intensive Elective – Language and Culture Assessment Brief 2 - Intercultural Reflections Report

Length:

1,500 words (+/- 10)

Submission:

Write your report in a Word Document and upload it by the due date via Turnitin on UTSOnline. Use font size 12 and leave sufficient space between lines (1.5 at least). Your document should contain your name and student number, a title, page numbers, and a short description of what program you participated in at the very beginning.

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