By Kelsey Corley, Student Editor of The Kayseean
The Coronavirus pandemic has effectively barred international travel for the past year and has kept King University students from one way of fulfilling their Cross-Cultural Experience requirements. A fundamental principle in King’s curriculum is expanding students’ worldviews and interactions with other cultures are vital. And while Covid certainly won’t last forever, the option to travel to foreign countries for weeks or even months at a time is not always accessible to every student. But upcoming graduates have nothing to fear, King has alternative approaches to fulfilling the cross-cultural requirement. Let’s explore some.
The Covid Option
This option was specially curated as a response to the lockdown in which students have found themselves. It allows current seniors to choose from various films that focus on multiple cultures and then complete a 1,000-word essay on the movies of their choice. The paper is focused on how the student’s perception of the specific culture changed after viewing the film. It prompts students to assess their own cultures and how the experience may have changed the way they view the exchange between cultures.
Some students choose to fulfill their CCE credit through local community service. However, the goal is to go beyond typical community service and really engage with the Bristol Community. King offers community service opportunities through various venues, such as volunteering at the Salvation Army or the Big Brother/ Big Sister Program. Nonetheless, certain activities may be subject to Covid-19 regulations.
Have any ideas of your own that could fulfill the typical requirements? Students may submit proposals, through their portal, of activities or experiences that would allow them to uniquely interact with other cultures!
Study Abroad / King Led Trips
In the hopefully not so distant future, when travel restrictions begin to ease, students will once again be able to travel and interact personally with foreign cultures. This typical approach requires at least 30 hours of contact with a markedly different culture from the student’s own. As with all of the cross-cultural options, it concludes with a written account of that experience and a reflection of how it influenced the student’s perception of culture.
Dr. Glenn Sanders, Dean of College Arts and Sciences, describes the importance of the cross-cultural experience: “It asks students to confront cultural differences seriously—that is, deeply and over an extended period—as means for better understanding the world, people from different cultures, and themselves. Actual time spent in a significantly different culture . . . can allow a student to adapt to new conditions, thoroughly learn a different language, and gain confidence when negotiating differences.” Traveling and interacting with different cultures is an invaluable experience to which King is committed for every student’s benefit.