After being recommended by an advisor, I was selected to participate in a writing internship abroad. The International Studies department had the daunting task of choosing between my writings and those of another qualified candidate. My responsibility will be to assist the honors department by writing and observing their experience and interactions with students from the Netherlands. The goal is to understand other cultures from the perspective of the natives. I am really excited for the opportunity to encourage other students to pursue diversity as well as international travel.
So far the main challenge has been international communication via Skype because of the six-hour time difference. For the first Skype session Valencia students conducted ethnographic interviews with students from the Netherlands. In their first time meeting they touched the surface and compared/ contrast their cultures. The goal of this first meeting was to acknowledge and dismiss any bias or stereotypical opinions of students from another culture. But rather see their differences from the others perspective. The students discussed:
Movies specifically Frozen
American music specifically Taylor Swift
American and Dutch celebrities
Holidays and traditions
Compared college lifestyles
Downtown Amsterdam compared to the shops on Park Ave (their shop are actually cheaper than the mall prices)
Riding bikes in Amsterdam
Life goals and college majors
Valencia students discussed the struggle of Florida’s humidity
As we continue to build international relations I look forward to learn more about Dutch culture and hope this project will enhance their view of Americans. So far they think we “… all drive cars and eat fast food,” it’s a start.