Spot the Difference

Spot the Difference

Hawai’i is often called the melting pot, because we have such a diverse population. There’s so many cultures on our islands. I like to think that I see snippets of different types of people just by living in Hawaii. But being around 60 international students, it’s fascinating to me how different things are. Just as simple as the vocabulary we use or our accent and the way we pronounce things. College vs. Uni, Vacation vs. Holiday, etc. There are students in my program from Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Canada, Australia , Scotland, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Mexico, Brazil, Philippines, Israel, and much more that I can’t remember from the top of my head.

We all come from such unique places and are so interesting in learning / hearing about what their home is like.

I know that America is strange, does things weird and doesn’t always make sense. But it’s still shocking to hear. For example, our educational system. In the UK, they have Primary School and then 5 years of High School. After high school, they need to take a 2 years of A-Levels before heading off to university. In Australia, they aren’t allowed to leave the first and 30 minutes of class At UH Hilo, people may come and go as they please.

With international students, most speak at least one other language. I find that so cool, and am kind of jealous because it would be so useful to have the ability to speak another language. While getting a SIM card, the worker didn’t speak English. We all don’t speak French, but the worker did speak Spanish. So, one of my classmates was able to communicate with her in Spanish.

Our program really encourages us to meet new people. A lot of students came in groups from their university. So, our program tries to split them up as much as possible. But they still manage to stick together. For us soloists, we have no choice but to step outside our comfort zone and meet new people. That’s the only what we’ll know anyone. By talking to them, I learned that we shared some of the same struggles come here, getting lost, etc.

I look for to meeting new people and hearing their opinions on topics we may discuss because I’m sure our point of views are all so different.

IS 393 Orientation

IS 393 Orientation

IS 393: Pre-Departure Orientation was so beneficial. We had our Global Education Adviser as well as a number of Student Assistant Advisers to help walk us through the process and help prepare us.

CULTURAL ADJUSTMENTS:

We learned that culturally its a huge adjustment to go to another country. It will take some time to understand and to become comfortable with their new environment. Different isn’t always bad. It’s an opportunity for growth and expanding your mind.

The Classic 5 Stage U-Curve Model
  • Cultural Diversity: The existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society.
  • Culture Shock U-Curve: generally moves through four different phases: honeymoon, frustration, adjustment and acceptance.
  • Adaptation: the process and time it takes a person to integrate into a new¬†culture¬†and feel comfortable within it.

On the first day of class, we played a game. We couldn’t speak or make gestures. We had 4 groups of 4. We each read the instructions and played the card game. At the end of the game, the winner moved to the next table clockwise and the loser moved to the next table counter clockwise. We played another round of the game with 2 new members. Still not speaking, it was clear, we all were confused and didn’t have the same understanding of the rules of the game. We continued this two more times. Some students would just follow along adapted to the rules of that table, but others tried to make their table play by their original set of rules. After 4 rounds of this, we learned that each group had a different set on instructions. This was to teach us that at home, we have cultural norms and a way of doing things. When we travel internationally, we will see a different way of life. We have two options, to be stuck in our ways, and force them to adapt to our lifestyle OR being respectful of their culture and learning what its all about. We need to remember are visitors in their home. How would you feel if someone came to your home and tried to force their rules on you?

ASSIGNMENTS:

  • 4 Article Reviews: an article that relates to the political, economic, or social situation in your host country
  • 4 Country Briefings
    • Politics
    • Economics, Environment and Population
    • Education
    • Daily Life
  • Cross-Cultural Interview
  • Classroom Presentation
  • Final Report and Presentation

FORMS:

Once accepted in the UH Hilo Go Global program, we are nominated to our partner school. But we still need to go through the partner school’s application, which I’ll discuss in a different post. For UH Hilo, we are required to submit the following forms before the last day of IS 393 classes.

It was extremely helpful and less stressful to have a group of people that are in the same situation as you, that you can share your experiences and get suggestions from others. We also get advice from students who already walked in our shoes and wants to help ease the process for us. I really think all study abroad programs should have this course.

Throughout the semester, we also worked on getting Visa/Passports, Financial Insurance, Flights, and much more. Stay tuned as I dive deeper into those topics.

Photo by: The CEO Kid