Identity Awareness Paper

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My Staircase to Intercultural Awareness

Nkechi Adigwe
Communication 305-002
Professor Cox
September 17, 2012

Abstract

Living in this mixed bowl of cultural, you might see an intercultural experience is easy to in occur whether it going to your favorite Thai restaurant or meeting a foreign exchange student in your class. Many embrace the many cultures in society but most do not understand how different cultures operate or the effort needed to communicate effectively. We can look to the staircase model describe in Understanding Intercultural Communication by Stella Ting-Toomey and Leeva Chung. This communication model is a great way to learn how to communicate in an intercultural setting as well as to be respectful and aware of the other’s cultures. After learning about the staircase model, I realized I have used this model in my everyday personal encounters.

Starting at childhood, I was placed in private school where the majority of students were Caucasian and Asian. I recalled one out of five black students in my class. Given this setting, I became acculturated in the culture of the white and upper middle class. In addition to dealing with being accepted by my classmate, I had to fit in with my relatives which half of them were Nigerian and the others Bermudian. While trying to juggle these cultures, I attempted to adapt to the appropriate or setting I was involved with at the time. As I got older, I began to be aware of the where I did and did not belong and decided to travel away for awhile to figure my life and who I am. Given this constant struggle of identity and culture, I have had to use the staircase model of communication to be accept and fully be understand by the different cultures I encounter whether American, Nigerian, or Bermudian. My staircase to intercultural awareness began when I was in kindergarten at a private school where I learned how...
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