Intercultural Group Project


COMM 220 – Intercultural Communication

Intercultural Group Project
Group Field Study

This assignment is a group presentation to the class on a field study experience of a different culture. I reserve the right to lower the grade of any individual who does not participate equally in his/her group efforts.

The purpose of this assignment is to give you direct experience with an intercultural situation. You are to explore a “new culture” here in the U.S. Consider the definition of culture that we are using and select a group for the field study on the basis of your access to the group and sufficient heterogeneity from that group. You are to approach learning about that culture as you would learning about any “foreign” culture. As a group you should study this new culture to learn about the cultural patterns (beliefs, values, and norms), verbal codes, nonverbal behaviors, social roles, and the rules for interpersonal relationships of that culture.

The three guidelines you should use in the selection of the culture are:

(1) those whom you study should be a “culture” as that term is used in this class;
(2) the culture should be sufficiently different from you for the encounter to be considered intercultural; and,
(3) access to the culture should be relatively easy.

You will submit the group proposal in which you will address these points to justify the culture of choice.
Proposals Due on D2L: November 24, 2009

You’re in-class presentation (you will have approximately 25 minutes to give the presentation) should provide a description of the culture. Address the following:

• What are the beliefs, values, norms, and social practices of the culture?
• What is the culture’s influence on the communication of the members of that culture?
• Is there a difference between your perception of events and the perception of the members of the field study culture?
• Are there any special or unique uses of their verbal code?
• Any particular organizational patterns or persuasive styles?
• What specific nonverbal behaviors are common among members of this culture?
• Are social episodes and interpersonal relationships defined in a particular way in this culture?

As part of your group presentation, you will outline the points addressed above and also briefly describe the process you as a group used to come to your descriptions. You will also submit a 9-10 page paper, double-spaced, describing the culture and your process. Address the following both in your paper and your presentation:

• Did you find yourself evaluating behavior when description would have been more helpful?
• What were your stereotypes of the culture before you began the field study?
• How did they influence your interactions?
• Did the stereotypes change? How?
• Did the members of the culture have stereotypes of you?
• How did you make sense of what you saw in this culture?
• Did you experience any of the symptoms of culture shock while in this culture?

Every member of the group must participate in the in-class presentation. You may use any artifacts, diagrams, objects, etc., from your field study culture to assist you in the presentation.

Presentations and papers are due December 10.

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