The Language and Culture Center partnered with Dr. Veronique Tran’s Office for UH Quality Enhancement Plan which provided logistical support and candidates from Tier One Scholars to act as cultural guides for international students. The Guides were provided with a foundation in the Culture Bump Approach for dealing with differences and a basic curriculum which included content such as communication styles, emotional intelligence and of course, culture bumps. Guides contributed their unique ideas such as having students watch “The Big Bang Theory” and “Modern Family”. They introduced slang words and phrases along with personal experiences – thereby providing an authentic glimpse of American life that is rarely available to international students studying in the USA. Students also participated in “Walkabouts” during which they experienced such things as “American elevator behavior” and American office etiquette.
Raad from Saudi Arabia said, “I learned that I will respect all the cultures in the world”. Herbert from Angola said, “The fantastic thing is that I am able to talk to an American”. Rachel from China reported, “We have learned how to cooperate with people who come from different cultures and how to deal with some culture bumps”.
The Culture Connection Class is a continuation of the Language and Culture Center’s year-long process of integrating cross cultural communication within all levels of the intensive English program.