Cross-Cultural Amusements

June 10, 2008 at 5:49 am Leave a comment

Aylin, one of Katie’s friends, invited us to come to Sabanci University to meet her students. I’ve never gotten bored with crossing the Bosphorus, and it seems the students share my enthusiasm (even at 8 a.m.) After a long bus ride, we were ushered into a darkened classroom with some 20 Turkish university students. A few minutes of sitting at their own table convinced the UNC students to take action: they suggested integrating the room.

Even sharing the same tables led nowhere. The Sabanci students had prepared fascinating PowerPoint presentations for us. Aylin had left them free to choose the topics we would need to know about Turkish culture. I was surprised by some: folk dance (do they do this?), amused by others.

I had misunderstood the process, and we hadn’t prepared anything in response. Kelly showed remarkable poise and creativity in finding photos online to describe “our” culture as we shouted suggestions: UNC’s high points (the Old Well, the Dean Dome and football stadium, Michael Jordan playing in Carolina Blue), a map, a tarheel emblem, “our” food (sweet tea and biscuits, OK, but pork barbeque Kelly?) It was Edward who really broke down the cultural barrier when he decided to show them the soulja boy dance.

After an enthusiastic round of applause, the room became quite noisy as the two groups talked, laughed, and exchanged contact information. They took the UNC students on a campus tour–a bit nervous about showing off their athletic facility after seeing the photos of ours.

Entry filed under: Teaching, Uncategorized.

Turkish/Art Experiential Learning

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