Cultural Exchange Experiences
Last Fall semester 2013, I presented in a class with Universidad Católica del Maule students. I shared with them about the focus of my doctoral research and they also where able to interview me. The course Professor Partrick Metzler informed me that this would be the first time many of them had ever met someone from another country (in my case the United States). Their challenge was to speak and listen in English as much as possible, but if I would notice any furrowed eyebrows suggesting someone was not understanding me, I would translate by speaking the response or questions in Spanish which seemed to help allay many of the students’ nervousness.
Upon my return to UCMaule this semester, I finally had an opportunity to go by Professor Matzler’s office and view the students’ project posters they used in their final class presentations. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much they had keyed in on particular topics. I am sharing copies of their work in this blog post. Their Professor and I were very proud of the work that they did. He and I have plans to do something similar this semester with another class, and I will also do more of an academic teaching event with them in my Visiting Scholar capacities. 🙂
During their interviewing of me last semester, I spoke about my research focused on the civic engagement activities of adult learners following their careers as undergraduates (post-título). I mentioned that my theoretical framework used Gravesian theory (Clare Graves) and it’s offspring of Spiral Dynamics a theoretical framework developed by Don Beck & Chris Cowan. My scholarship and research also incorporates Multiple Intelligences theory (Howard Gardner) and Memetics, birthed from the early works of Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene) and Susan Blackmore (The Meme Machine). In essence, I plan to wear my “teaching hat” with the students here at UCMaule moving forward, and I’ve also been invited to present to faculty and students at the Universidad Autónoma del Chile her at their Talca Maule campus.
Being much younger than the adults I typically teach, these pregraduado alumnos (i.e., undergraduates) were less interested in the ethereals of my doctoral level graduate student life, but more attentive to discussing North American sports, racism, the University of Georgia, and my hometown of Akron, Ohio. Clearly, some of the students did their research and visited my blog site, because I noticed that a few of the posters focused on subjects I don’t remember discussing in their class. Nevertheless, to those budding young scholarly researchers I say, “Well Done!”
Issues of college sports, LeBron James, and athletic exploitation was discussed. It’s ironic that subsequent to my visiting with them on these subjects, the courts have recently passed a law allowing college athletes to unionize. Perhaps, that was the Futurist part of me coming out during our discussions. 😉
Many student wanted to know about the history of American Slavery (Chile was one of the first countries to abolish slavery) and from my very limited research on these topic (not my area of scholarship), this country did not have as intricate a system of Chattel slavery as is historically documented in places like Brazil, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Cuba, etc… Maybe that is why demographical Chile does not have a very large black population. Honestly, issues of race rarely come up in conversations here. I did witness an interesting exchange during my research with people trying to determine if they should call themselves white of latino/a. That will be in my findings section where I mention possible future research. But, I did learn that there is a supposedly thriving black population in northern Arica, Chile. The name of the region is clearly named after the continent of Africa and I believe that there are some wonderful stories yet to be told by those inhabitants.
I will say that it was very interesting to me that no one really asked me much about my time as a field organizer during the 2008 Senator Barack Obama Presidential campaign. I spent more time talking about LeBron James than President Obama. That was different! lol So, moving forward I am going to share the students’ visual aid documents and if any of them are reading this blog I want you all to know I think you did a great job on this assignment. Kudos to Professor Patrick Metzler as well. 🙂
I spent some time talking about North American racism and the historical legacy of both the Northern and Southern states in relation to the civil war and the Civil Rights movement. That could easily be a class all by itself of course. The interview and discussions had occurred fresh off of the recent court ruling in the George Zimmerman trial. Seems liked someone must have pick up on some still raw emotions from me surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin.