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Personal Connections/Reflective Analysis Upon completing this research project and reflecting on both my culture and the Italian

culture, I can note that there are both connections and differences between both cultures. I have learned more about my cultural identity through reflection and evaluation of my personal identity; I have also learned about the Italian culture through research for this intercultural competence project. I have learned that there are connections, anticipated stressors, and strategies for healthy intercultural adaptation in the Italian culture. Connections Worldview. Most Italians are Roman-Catholic, and I am a Christian. For the most part, we both have a theistic worldview; however, we do have different doctrines and specific beliefs (ex: Worship of Mary and sovereignty of God). Catholics believe in Saints and in the worship of the Virgin Mary; I believe in the sovereignty of God and that I can have a direct and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Spoken/Written Language (Verbal Communication). The language is similar to Spanish in some ways, but it is still very different. As I was researching the spoken language and written language, I learned that I was able to understand some of it because I know Spanish. Some of the words are similar enough for me to understand. Examples include: difficile (difchile) = difcil possibile (posbile) = possible cattolico = catlico James 1:19 states, Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. Italy would be a great place for me to practice this because I will need to listen to others in order to try and understand what they are saying. Behavior (Nonverbal Communication). A commonly known aspect of the way that Italians communicate is that they have high nonverbal cues for communicating. They are very dramatic with their hands and they use their body language a lot to communicate. Italians are very animated and like to gesture with their hands while talking to emphasize their point or their feelings. I learned that though they communicate in this way, they do not expect someone from another culture to do the same. The connection that I have in this area is that I too use a lot of hand gestures when I talk; I honestly do not know why I do this, but I have noticed that my hands move all over the place when I talk. I would fit right in with the Italians! Italians Italians also may stand closer in line to people than Americans are used to. Me/American Culture This will be strange for me because I have a personal space bubble; I do not like it when people stand really close to me.

On public transportation, younger people should give up their seats to older people, while men should still give up their seats to women Eye contact is a way to show interest. If you look away in a conversation, it means that you are not interested and are being rude. In public, behaviors such as chewing gum, leaning, and slouching are unacceptable. It is rare to see Italian businesspeople eating as they walk along a street (eating ice cream is the only and perfectly acceptable exception to this).

I always allow older people to take my seat when I am somewhere and an older person comes. I always do it for elderly people, but not necessarily for other adults. I do try and make eye contact, but at times it does get uncomfortable when it is too long. I think that this is the complete opposite of the American culture. Americans are always slouching, always leaning, and always chewing gum. We eat on the go, so we are constantly eating while we walk or drive.

Activity Orientation. For Italians, doing is important and people can change the circumstances of their lives. They have self-ambition and a drive to improve their lives and be successful. I am also self-oriented in doing and moving forward in life, and not just being in one spot. I think that this is the American culture as well. Americans believe in the American Dream, where everyone can move forward and change their lives. Social Relations/Family Values. Italians prefer face-to-face contact, so it is important for them to develop relationships. They are very family centered. I too prefer face-to-face contact and like to build and focus on personal relationships. Relationships are important to me, both those of friends and of family. I am personally very family oriented as well. Self-Orientation. Italy is an individualistic culture, which is more self-centered. In Northern Italy, there is a more individualistic behavior. Clothes and the outward appearance are important to Italians. Though this is so, family is still very important. Southern Italy has less individualistic behaviors. They are more family oriented, and group/social aspects are important. Though I do care about my outward look, I am more focused on my inward self. Time Orientation. Punctuality for Italians is not mandatory. I do not like to arrive late to formal meetings or important events, but I do tend to do so. I would fit in with Italians because though I try to be punctual, it usually does not happen. Anticipated Stressors After the research that I did, I know that there are definitely some anticipated stressors, some of which I have just mentioned. First, I do think that I would indeed be able to adapt to the Italian culture after a short time. I too am family oriented, I want to move forward in life, I have respect for others, and our religious worldviews are similar enough to be understanding of each other. There are of course, however, some anticipated stressors if I were to go to Italy. The first would be that I may get home sick. Because I am very family oriented, I would miss my family and friends back home. Another stressor is that I will have the need to build close relationships

so that I may not feel alone; I will need to find a friend or two to feel comfortable and safe with. The food will not be much trouble to me because I like Italian food and we eat a lot of that in America. The highest stressor for me would be the language barrier; it is difficult to communicate with people when you do not share the same language. I will have a hard time making friends if there are not people who I can talk to so that I may not feel alone. Strategies for Healthy Intercultural Adaptation I have learned how to deal with anticipated stressors throughout the course of my Intercultural Competency class. One thing that stuck out to me was that I need to have a strong foundation somewhere where I can know that I can always go back home to. For me, I am blessed to have a home and family that I can go back to. My strong foundation, however, is that God is my rock. Luke 6:48 states, They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. I have a strong foundation in Christ, so though I may go through struggles and get home sick, I always have the same foundation everywhere I go. A strategy for healthy intercultural adaptation is to simply know that I am going to be stereotyped, and to know that it is okay. I need not prove people right if they already have stereotypes of Americans that I may not agree with or that may not be me. On the other hand, a way to cope with intercultural adaptation is to use stereotypes; I may not do them intentionally, but stereotypes are indeed ways in which to fit large groups of people into my head in a way that makes sense. Another strategy is to research the culture in which I am going in to. This will allow me to preview a little bit about what I could expect and to research how I should behave. Knowing some of these things will alleviate some of the culture shock that I may experience and I will have a healthier intercultural adaptation. Once I am there, I need to keep an open, positive mind to learning about the new culture and to trying new things. I cannot focus on the things that I miss at home, but rather I should try and experience the culture and learn new things that I like. Romans 2:11 states, For God shows no partiality. The strategy of keeping a positive and open mind reflects this verse because I know that my culture is not superior to other peoples cultures, and that their cultures are not superior to my own. As God accepts everyone, I too must accept the people in the new culture.