Pre-departure Activities

Activity 1
Thinking back over the past week or month, consider your experiences and identify an experience that made you have unusually strong feelings or reactions. Try to keep your focus on an incident related to your studies or professional life rather than personal experiences. However, if you can’t think of a critical incident from your studies or professional life, it is okay to choose one from your personal life.
Once you have identified a critical incident, take five or ten minutes to write it down and describe it in as much detail as you can remember. Remember to include the who, when, where, what, and how of the incident. (Don’t do the “why” at this point – we’ll get to that later!)

Activity 2
Using the critical incident that you identified and described above, work through the critical incident analysis process and develop an entry for a critical incident log that demonstrates your process of examining your experience. As you work through this process, consider how it feels to work through the process and take note of how long it can take as well.

Activity 3
Quick response ? write down all the words you can think of that answer the question ?What is culture?? You could do this as a mind map or just a list ? up to you.

Activity 4
Write down some of your ideas about how you might live in and understand a community that has knowledge and ways of knowing different to your own. Now, consider the international experience that you are going to participate in: what differences might you find there and how might you work with these?

Activity 5
Read McIntosh’s article White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. As you read through, keep your upcoming international experience in mind and what factors might affect what you understand and how you see incidents in your experience.
After you have read the article, respond to the following questions that are designed to guide your reading and encourage you to reflect more deeply on some of the concepts in the article.
  • How do you describe your nationality, ethnicity and race. What do you think are the differences between these descriptors?
  • How many of the items on the checklist (pp. 10-11) can you relate to? Choose three of them and reflect on how the point is relevant to you and why. Give an example to illustrate your thinking.
  • On page 11, McIntosh talks about white privilege really being about white dominance. How does the education system in Australia inadvertently or inexplicitly teach us to exercise white privilege or dominance over others. Think specifically about what is taken for granted or the ‘hidden’ aspects of curriculum, or policy or teaching practice.
  • What might be in your cultural knapsack when you go on your international experience later this year?
  • develop your cultural self-awareness,
  • develop your cultural knowledge of the international context you are visiting, and
  • develop your interaction skills.

Record your responses to these questions in your International Experience Log so that you can come back to them after you have finished your international experience.
Identify and complete at least one thing that you could do for each of the following: 
  • develop your cultural self-awareness,
  • develop your cultural knowledge of the international context you are visiting, and
  • develop your interaction skills.
You might like to keep a track of these in your International Experience Portfolio as part of your predeparture activities.

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