Interculturalo Event

Sample essay topic, essay writing: Interculturalo Event - 1208 words

1) Describe the event, its purpose, the cultural group originating the event, and how you learned of the event. Believe it or not,(like everything else I've written about in this course) my cultural event was Italian/American in nature. The event in question was the marriage of an American groom and an Italian bride. The bride's family consisted, in large part, of grandparents and older relatives that had been born and raised in Italy. Obviously the younger relatives were primarily second and third generation Italians as well. The groom and his family, on the other hand, were American mutts.

Their cultural background was extremely diluted, consisting of a multitude of cultural circumstances. Seeing as the American groom (Richard) proposed, I suppose the origin of the event could be considered American, although without the consent of the Italian bride(Tessa), there would be no wedding, so let's call it Italian/American in origin. My wife and I were invited to attend the wedding by her great-aunt, who comes from the Italian side of the union. 2) What element(s), if any, is/are similar in your culture? For the most part the wedding was just like any other American wedding. During the ceremony a couple of symbolic and superstitious traditions similar to American traditions were performed

First, whereas in American culture superstition dictates that the bride must have "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue", the Italian groom carried a piece of metal in his suit pocket to ward off evil eyes. I found the second action, one of symbolic nature, a bit odd. In American culture, couples frequently light unity candles to symbolize their lifetime union of happiness. The symbolic gesture in this wedding was a bit different though. The newly married couple smashed a vase, with the remaining pieces representing the number of years the couple is expected to be happily married. I found this act kind of strange.

Suppose the vase only broke into two or three pieces (it didn't, it shattered into hundreds). Such an occurrence would seem certain to dampen the enthusiasm for a superstitious couple. Aside from a couple of exceptions, the rest of the wedding was similar to any other wedding, with a buffet of food, cash bar, and a D. J. spinning records (or cd's, as the case may be).3) What did you see and experience at this event that made you feel confident you understood accurately? My wife and I have couple of reoccurring issues in our marriage. The first relates to how we argue and express our views.

She continually tells me that during a disagreement, Italians naturally become very passionate and vocal, but can quickly change course afterwards and seemingly forget all the hostility immediately. Like the groom, I am a cultural mutt, so this was weird for me. During the reception I saw something that helped me understand. A grandmother and elderly aunt of the bride got into a heated discussion regarding some minor issue with the food. Their hands began flying and the Italian curses (or so it sounded) began bouncing off the walls.

After about two minutes, another relative intervened and the issue was settled. Had I not had my wife's words echoing in my head, I might have been surprised to see, not five minutes later, the two women chatting over their meals as if nothing had ever happened. The second issue has to with passion and expression of that passion. Whereas I am pretty stoic and reserved, my wife is a fountain of emotions and expression. "It is in my blood, I can't help it!" my wife frequently tells me. After watching the unbridled, even for a wedding, display of passion at the wedding I can believe it is in the Italian blood.

Every greeting and introduction was accompanied by kisses on the cheeks, even between men, as well as frequent tears and bone crunching hugs. Although I am obviously generalizing, the American greetings tended to be reserved, while the Italian greetings can be likened to the reunion of long lost relatives.4) What did you see that was culturally puzzling to you? The only thing I found culturally puzzling was the almost unconcealed requests for money. As a general rule in American weddings, the wedding is paid for by the wedding participants, and in return the guests bring gifts for the couple. To me, cash seems kind of impersonal, but to the Italians it seemed to be par for the course. Being a big fan of the Italian mob movie Goodfellas, I felt like I was in the room with Robert Dinero and Joe Pesci.

Not only did most of the guests bring gifts, but during the receiving line ceremony many guests provided envelopes filled with what I presume was cash. Although I had never witnessed it, I was aware of this tradition. I had never heard of the next tradition, and I was not particularly impressed with it. During the reception, guests took turns paying money to cut off pieces of the groom's tie as mementoes of the occasion. Call me old-fashioned and culturally insensitive, but when I invite people to a party I expect to pay for it.5) Assess both verbal and non-verbal communication.

Although I've got to admit I am not always the most observant guy around, there were a few obvious communication patterns at work in the wedding. I had decided before the wedding that it would be the subject of my intercultural piece, so I was watching closely for examples for my essay. Based on the admittedly small sample, Italians are much more non-verbally communicative than Americans. As I wrote earlier, while American greetings are commonly a handshake and "Hi, nice to meet you.", The Italian greeting and conversation is punctuated with frequent touching, arm movement, and back slapping. I don't find anything wrong with either form of communication, but by the end of the wedding, my hand was sore from all the squeezing and my back ached from the back slaps.6) How do cultural patterns affect communication? The biggest affect on communication can be the perceived norms by each culture. Watching the interactions at the wedding, I could see how cultural patterns could be misinterpreted. An expressive Italian greeting a new acquaintance may be offended by the seemingly cool response of a reserved American. Once again, there is nothing wrong with either form of communication, but it is important to be aware and respectful of cultural differences.7) Describe how this experience will help you to relate better with other members of this culture. I have been told many times that I am too quiet and reserved.

While I tend to view my self control as a badge of honor, I am trying to understand how others perceive it. Early on in our relationship, my wife told me that, although her family really liked me, they found me hard to get close to. Because I loved her, I tried hard to be more expressive with her family, and we gradually grew closer. Watching the interaction of people at the wedding clarified her point to me. Although I can still be me, it is very important to express myself better, so I can better embrace my new Italian family.

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