July 28, 2009
July 28th, 2009 |

Pleasant Surprises

In the collection of my blogs, I noticed I shared some of my preconceived notions of the attitude Italians may have towards Americans. For example, in my “Visiting an Italian Doctor” blog I wrote,“ I was afraid that the doctor was going to be stuck-up or think I was some American who was wasting his time, but he was completely the opposite of what I thought.” Another example is in my “Power of a Smile” blog when I wrote, “I was concerned with how Italian people were going to view me as an American, and didn’t want to come off as being arrogant or close-minded because I didn’t know their language too much.”

I can understand why I would think Italians would see Americans this way.  It’s because the United States presents itself as the best country in the world and that it’s high and mighty.  So I felt that Italians were going to think that we as Americans carried that same attitude in our personalities.

Gonzales’ explains in her article, “Painting the White Face Red”, that when people come into contact with a different culture, it opens them to see possibilities for their own existence. She also writes, “The idea of returning to a more organic source of identity can be empowering.” Both of these concepts connect to this particular pattern, because being in a different country makes you think about where you are from; the positive and negatives of the culture and stereotypes of your nationality.

Another pattern I recognized in my blogs is that I noticed forms of nonverbal communication. For example in my “Power of a Smile” blog I wrote, “smiling has helped a lot with the language barrier, and I’ve been rewarded with welcoming smiles in return.” Another example is when the Italian doctor pinched my cheeks after my visit. In America, I’m almost positive my doctor’s wouldn’t ever do that.

I think I mentioned forms of nonverbal communication more than once because being in a country where you don’t speak the same language, you try to get a feel for what people are like by the ways they acknowledge you without having to use any words–smile, a hug, a kiss on the cheek, a curious stare, or a wave hello.

Jandt’s article, “An Introduction to Intercultural Communication Identities in a Global Community”, mentions human orientation, which is described as the degree to which people in organizations and societies encourage and reward individuals for being fair, friendly, and generous. The article also suggests that people in societies that are high on this attribute show cultural characteristics such as warm greetings similar to the ones that I’ve noticed in Italy; pinching of cheeks and kissing on both sides of cheeks.

Overall, these patterns have helped me to learn about myself by showing me my judgments and the observations that I key into when meeting new people. Having my preconceived notions of Italians being proven wrong,has further taught me to have more faith in the goodness in peoples’ hearts. These patterns of breaking down preconceived notions and nonverbal communication have influenced my final project, because due to the sweetness and surprises that I’ve witnessed through the experiences and the people that I’ve met in Italy, I picked material that would convey to my potential audience, the feelings I’ve experienced throughout my stay in Italy.  click here to read articles mentioned

Leave a Reply