Cultural anthropology: Becoming a minority of one

Going to church in a different culture -- Feeling like a foreigner

Field trip: Becoming a fish out of water

This assignment is designed to send you on a cross-cultural field trip where you become a minority of one. The worship part is not the central issue. The central objective of this assignment is to find yourself as a minority in a situation where you feel out of place and where you may be uncertain about what is expected of you.

In your one to two-page report, don't tell me how you discovered people can worship in any culture. In fact, don't focus on the worship event itself.

I'm looking for what you felt. I want you to process whatever uncomfortable moments you felt. What took you out of your comfort zone? You may tell me that you did discover that God speaks more than one language.

Do not report on an experience you had months or years ago before this course began. It must be an experience you have had since starting this Cultural Anthropology course.


Note: Going to a church of a different denomination than the one you are used to (such as a Baptist going to a Roman Catholic service or a Lutheran going to a Pentecostal one) will not fulfill the objectives of this assignment. This is not about experiencing different forms of worship. It is about being in the midst of a group of people very different from you culturally and perhaps even linguistically.

Sample student report

    -- Howard Culbertson,

Surviving a Cross-Culrual Experience

"Surviving" a cross-cultural experience requires an open mind, adaptability, and respect for diversity. Embrace the unfamiliarity with curiosity rather than fear. Take the initiative to learn about the customs, traditions, and values of the culture you're encountering, and be willing to engage with locals on their terms. Listen actively, ask questions, and seek to understand rather than judge. Flexibility is key; be prepared for unexpected situations and be willing to adjust your expectations and behaviors accordingly. Lastly, remember that mistakes are inevitable, but humility and a willingness to learn from them can foster deeper connections and enrich your experience.

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