Cultural Immersion Experience

Cultural Immersion Experience

Cultural Immersion Experience

Cultural Immersion experience assignment: “I am black culture so do not use that.”

To more fully understand a multicultural group of which you are not a member, you will engage with a different multicultural group within or outside of your community.

Tasks on Cultural Immersion Experience:

Connect with a group:

  • That constitutes a unique culture or clear value system
  • That is or has been disenfranchised or oppressed
  • About which you have (potentially negative) preconceived ideas

This can include racial/cultural, sexual identity, religious/spiritual, economic, or ability diversity (formalized religious services different from your own, volunteer work at soup kitchens and homeless shelters, attendance at a religious ceremony, burial, rites of passage, social activity, etc.).


Create a 3- to 5-page Microsoft Word document in APA format addressing the following:

sample of consent form attached below

Step 2: Attend at least one gathering of this group, observing and interacting, as appropriate. This meeting is to be attended alone, not with another student from this class or program unless he or she is your cultural guide.

Step 1: Contact the group and interview a leader about the way to interact with the group, or find a cultural guide who can help you access the group appropriately. Interview that person about the group: why the members gather, what it means to them, etc.

Step 3: After the experience, describe each of the following:

  • A brief overview of the experience, including the setting, the type and/or purpose of the event, and the number of attendees
  • Your reactions to the experience
  • Also, your thoughts and feelings about the group observed
  • Your thoughts and feelings about yourself in relation to the group observed
  • Points to consider to be an effective counselor for this population



This prerequisite is intended to assist students explore new methods to handle environmental issues by giving them an insider’s perspective that will help them broaden their perspectives and better comprehend the perspectives of many stakeholders involved in environmental problem-solving. It should help students understand how their own culture teaches them about other cultures and is used subjectively to understand cultural differences.

Students can fulfill this need through a number of experiences, however all cultural immersion experiences must meet the following criteria:

1. It must be relevant to science or environmental studies.

2. It must contain at least 40 hours of direct interaction with a group of people from a different culture than the student’s own. The 40 hours don’t have to be consecutive. You must spend the entire time with a particular culture or group in order for this to be termed an immersion. In the proposal, you must describe both your own culture and the culture with whom you intend to work.

3. It must be a more in-depth, critical cultural immersion experience than simply traveling or observing. It should allow you to assess circumstances from the perspective of local people; in other words, you should try to be in a scenario where parts of your regular comforts and predictability are altered or absent. If you are proactive in your interactions with local guides, they may be a terrific forum for cultural immersion; if you are not proactive, you will miss out on the possibility for full immersion.

Students must submit proposals using the form at the bottom of this page by the deadlines mentioned below. After the deadline, the committee will convene to vote on the suggestions. The papers section at the bottom of this page contains examples of final proposals and proposals.

Maya’s perspective on her summer abroad program in China with The Experiment in International Living is shared in this post. She discusses her painstakingly choreographed absorption into Chinese society, as well as the lessons it taught her about herself. Thank you, Maya, for providing us with a glimpse inside this incredible adventure!

When I traveled to China with The Experiment in International Living this summer, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in Chinese culture. Despite my American heritage, I found myself feeling more Chinese than Californian at one point throughout the trip! Not only that, but my trips allowed me to take a step back and think on the American beliefs and habits that I had previously taken for granted. I obtained the courage and knowledge to integrate into Chinese culture and remark on it as a result of The Experiment.


Over Chinese ice cream, a group of Experimenters bond.

The Dynamic of the Group


The first factor that contributed to my ability to integrate was our group’s dynamic. The 11 other Experimenters and I staggered off our flight at the Shanghai airport, fatigued and disoriented, and missing familiar faces. One of the most overwhelming experiences of the trip for me was sitting in the terminal for our connecting flight – I had never felt so out of place. Our Experiment group leaders, on the other hand, were prepared. They took out index cards and ushered us all into a tight circle. Our gang began to assemble there, amidst the sea of interested bystanders. We taught how to count off — in Chinese, of course — and were assigned a group number. Despite the fact that we had just met the day before, the leaders made it apparent that they were there to look after us, and we could feel ourselves becoming more at ease with one another.


We only got closer from there. Our group of 12 Experimenters established our “group constitution” on our first day in China, which included written goals and instructions for us to follow for the next month. We were able to discuss our values early on and work together to form our group dynamic. Despite the fact that it was merely a piece of paper, we all realized that our constitution was important. We created guidelines for being open-minded, actively reaching out to others, inclusive, cheerful and enthusiastic, without judging one another, and trustworthy and honest.


The Experiment limited each trip to 10 or 15 Experimenters, which allowed me to get to know each and every one of them. We were allowed a great deal of freedom to roam and investigate our surroundings, but we were required to travel in groups of at least three individuals at all times. This was done for both social and safety concerns. There were no exclusive ties created throughout the trip: no couples, cliques, or exclusive friendships. Although some members of the group were obviously closer than others, we all tried hard to reach out and connect with one another. Our tour guides would pair us up with folks we didn’t know when we went sightseeing in groups. Not only that, but we ended each day jammed into someone’s hotel room, conversing, braiding hair, playing games, or watching movies. We didn’t understand how much we had grown to rely on one other until the end of our trip, and how much confidence we had instilled in each other. The group culture gave me a stable foundation — a safety net — that encouraged me to explore the unfamiliar society around me.


Maya with Ayi, her host mother, and Waipo, her host grandma, during her last night with them.

Orientation to the Homestay


We Experimenters had gotten into a pattern after our first week in China. We were comfortable in China by the end of the first week. When you travel with The Experiment in International Living, however, you will never be comfortable for long. The Experiment thinks that participants should always attempt new things and push themselves out of their comfort zones. It’s time to push yourself if you feel at ease after only a week in a different nation. And so my homestay adventure began…


Our entire group convened the night before for homestay orientation. Our leaders advertised an activity before we even sat down. They separated us into pairs and then spoke to us all. We had to talk about what that word meant to us with our spouse. We went on with the task, changing partners for each topic. The topics started out simple — home, parents, friends, messages, food, and so on — but quickly grew more complex. We discussed our feelings regarding the terms Muslim, Black, White, Chinese, homosexual, lesbian, and so on. The activity exposed how much prejudice and bias we all have against specific groups and words, as well as the contrasts in our lives back in the United States.


Following the activity, we explored many possible homestay circumstances and the best methods for dealing with each. The leaders made sure we got their phone numbers and were well-versed in Chinese words, etiquette, and cultural norms. But the knowledge I gained from the exercise was my most valuable tool heading into homestay: that every culture has its own set of values, and that our perceptions of other cultures are nearly always distorted by our society’s biases and preconceptions. As I mentioned in my previous article, my biases and expectations about Chinese society were frequently challenged throughout my trip. The orientation exposed our collective prejudices and stereotypes about other cultures and ourselves, and provided me the confidence I needed to begin my homestay.


Discussion Questions (DQ)

  • Initial responses to the DQ should address all components of the questions asked, including a minimum of one scholarly source, and be at least 250 words.
  • Successful responses are substantive (i.e., add something new to the discussion, engage others in the discussion, well-developed idea) and include at least one scholarly source.
  • One or two-sentence responses, simple statements of agreement, or “good post,” and responses that are off-topic will not count as substantive. Substantive responses should be at least 150 words.
  • I encourage you to incorporate the readings from the week (as applicable) into your responses.

Weekly Participation

  • Your initial responses to the mandatory DQ do not count toward participation and are graded separately.
  • In addition to the DQ responses, you must post at least one reply to peers (or me) on three separate days, for a total of three replies.
  • Participation posts do not require a scholarly source/citation (unless you cite someone else’s work).
  • Part of your weekly participation includes viewing the weekly announcement and attesting to watching it in the comments. These announcements are made to ensure you understand everything that is due during the week.

APA Format and Writing Quality

  • Familiarize yourself with APA format and practice using it correctly. It is used for most writing assignments for your degree. Visit the Writing Center in the Student Success Center, under the Resources tab in LoudCloud for APA paper templates, citation examples, tips, etc. Points will be deducted for poor use of APA format or absence of APA format (if required).
  • Cite all sources of information! When in doubt, cite the source. Paraphrasing also requires a citation.
  • I highly recommend using the APA Publication Manual, 6th edition.

Use of Direct Quotes

  • I discourage overutilization of direct quotes in DQs and assignments at the Masters’s level and deduct points accordingly.
  • As Masters’s level students, it is important that you be able to critically analyze and interpret information from journal articles and other resources. Simply restating someone else’s words does not demonstrate an understanding of the content or critical analysis of the content.
  • It is best to paraphrase content and cite your source.


LopesWrite Policy

  • For assignments that need to be submitted to LopesWrite, please be sure you have received your report and Similarity Index (SI) percentage BEFORE you do a “final submit” to me.
  • Once you have received your report, please review it. This report will show you grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors that can easily be fixed. Take the extra few minutes to review instead of getting counted off for these mistakes.
  • Review your similarities. Did you forget to cite something? Did you not paraphrase well enough? Is your paper made up of someone else’s thoughts more than your own?
  • Visit the Writing Center in the Student Success Center, under the Resources tab in LoudCloud for tips on improving your paper and SI score.

Late Policy

  • The university’s policy on late assignments is 10% penalty PER DAY LATE. This also applies to late DQ replies.
  • Please communicate with me if you anticipate having to submit an assignment late. I am happy to be flexible, with advance notice. We may be able to work out an extension based on extenuating circumstances.
  • If you do not communicate with me before submitting an assignment late, the GCU late policy will be in effect.
  • I do not accept assignments that are two or more weeks late unless we have worked out an extension.
  • As per policy, no assignments are accepted after the last day of class. Any assignment submitted after midnight on the last day of class will not be accepted for grading.


  • Communication is so very important. There are multiple ways to communicate with me: 
    • Questions to Instructor Forum: This is a great place to ask course content or assignment questions. If you have a question, there is a good chance one of your peers does as well. This is a public forum for the class.
    • Individual Forum: This is a private forum to ask me questions or send me messages. This will be checked at least once every 24 hours.



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