Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Culture from the Outside Looking In

I found the videos very helpful for this blog assignment. I thought it was so fascinating how Professor was in New Jesrsey and had a realization that HE was different, and not his New Jersey friends. I think we do this too often and think that we are the normal ones when sometimes we are not “normal” compared to everybody else. I thought it was also really near when the video video talked about other cultures that we view as minor being distinct and unique.

If I was hosting an exchange student that had never been to the US, I would explain my culture as mainly Caucasian and spoiled. My culture is extremely spoiled because most of the students at Clemson have cars and a place to live. We too often take this for granted, and from the outside looking in one may say that we think the world revolves around us. My culture is used to getting what we want most of the time. This is nothing to brag about but it is true. Males are viewed as the “leader” in households while women are supposed to cook, clean, and take care of the children. Marriage is meant to last forever and couples are expected to have kids. .

From the information on the “Geert-Hofstede Cultural Dimensions,” power has a huge role in my US culture today. People who have more money are seen to have more power, and people who are ranked high politically. Most of these people are males. I would tell the exchange student that individualism is also highly valued in my culture. People are supposed to try their best to work their way up to success, especially in the business world. There is not much long term orientation in my culture anymore, doing “new” things or starting “new” traditions are becoming more and more popular. While people used to go to denominational churches, like Presbyterian or Baptist, most people in my culture are going to new nondenominational churches with loud rock music and no pulpits or dressing up.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cultural Literacy in my culture and others

I really enjoyed watching all of the videos this week and understanding the concept of cultural literacy. In my opnion, cluture literacy is understanding the culture and knowing how to communicate with different age groups or different types of people within the culture. In the culture I am from today, it is almost required to understand computers. Being cultural literate at Clemson University means knowing how to Facebook, email, text, and anything else that has to do with media. Also, it means knowing what is going on with sports teams. Clemson is very big on sports and knowing how the teams are doing helps students fit into the culture here. Also, knowing how to have a job and keep up with homework exemplifies cultural literacy. All students have homework and usually discuss their assignments with each other.

In other cultures that are not my own, I try to fit in by knowing what they like and do not like. When working with the Clemson Life students, I have noticed that they are very different from my usual Clemson student culture. They have to worry about things like getting a ride, walking to class alone, or eating alone. These are things that most Clemson students, such as myself, do not think twice about. Also, they do not go to Facebook or email for questions or to keep in touch with their friends, they all live together so they do not have to deal with online sources. Their teachers usually contact them first, which is unusual for other students. I have tried to fit in with this by finding them on campus when I need to talk with them, picking them up for a Starbucks run, or going to their apartment in Tilman Place instead of meeting them somewhere. I have also sat through a class with them, Western Dance, to see how they pick up on class skills and their reactions to teachers.

The gap that remains for me is getting on a personal level with the students, and breaking down any walls of mistrust they may have. This will help me understand their culture better and understand them as people better.

Caitlin and me making a Starbucks run!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Communicating through new media

My generation is all about media for communicating. There are many different types of media, but the post popular types are Facebook, email, twitter, blogging, and Skype. I have communicated through all of these types of social networks and they all can serve similar purposes, but differ in how they are used.

1. Facebook-Many people use Facebook as a way to post pictures, comments, and status'. A status talks about what that person is doing or where they are, others may see it and learn that they are doing the same thing that person is doing. Also, Facebook is a great way to communicate because you can send private messages if you do not want everybody reading it, as opposed to a comment on somebody's wall where every friend can see it. In Facebook you can also create events or make groups. i have used this by planning events for birthday parties or putting study groups together for school.

2. Email- Email is a great source of communication that serves one purpose, sending a cyber message to somebody. As opposed to talking on the phone, email is at your convience and you can respond or send something whenever you would like. email is a great way to contact busy people in today's society. I have used emails to talk to professors, talk to my parents, or catch up with old friends.

3. Twitter- Twitter is a fairly new source of communication. Twitter mainly serves for people to talk about themselves, and say what they are doing at that moment, or who they are with, or where they are. I have used it for communicating with others before by tweeting to them.. for example "@Annalaurens do you want to meet for lunch tommorow" This shows up on all the people's pages who are following me on twitter, and it shows up on my friend Anna's page because I tagged her user name.

4. Blogging- I am new to blogging and have realized it is a great source of communication with people you would never usually meet. You can create internet relationships with others you have things in common with.

5. Skype- Skype is a great way to communicate with others that are far away from you. If you are in another country or on vacation, you can Skype somebody, see their face, and hear their voice. I have used this over the summer when I was at home and my college friends were far away, This is a great way to visually connect with somebody.

These four ways of communicating are fast, efficient, and to the point. I can not imagine life without internet, and I do not use my phone nearly as often as I use the computer.

Throughout this course, I am going to use media communication to observe and learn from the culture I am studying, the Clemson Life students. I am learning a lot already, and have been talking to some of them through cell phones and email. I have been using email to plan when I am going to see them.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Post-CLAM reflections

My name is Katie. I am excited about taking this online course and learning more about another culture other than my own. I feel like I am very ignorant when it comes to people different than me, and I need to improve that. In my opinion, in order to love others to the fullest, we need to understand them and where they come from and why they believe what they do.
I love how organized this course is. I have taken online courses before and they were not nearly as well explained as this one. I am excited about keeping an online blog because it will be helpful to reflect about my experiences. I think it will be cool to do an interview as well. I will be working with the Clemson LIFE students this semester, trying to see what they are like and how they live. They have disabilities that I can not relate to, so I am eager to see their culture.