A fire truck, a helicopter, and a horse walk into a brewery…
Workshopping intercultural communications with American University.
Written by Megan Oliver
In a sunset-lit side room at Migration Brewing, small groups gathered around tables, riffing on what a fire truck, helicopter, horse, and car were going to do in a given hypothetical scenario. The modes of transportation were analogous to the multicultural backgrounds of the young professionals in the room, and of the free workshop’s topic: Intercultural Communication.
The facilitated discussions throughout the evening waded into the sometimes-murky waters of high- and low-context communication, idiomatic nuance, and perceptions of otherness. Led by American University Professor, Dr. Ed Timke, who teaches in the Washington DC-based university’s Intercultural Institute online graduate studies program, the conversation was refreshingly frank. At least four countries of origin were represented and most people in the room were attending their first WorldOregon Young Professionals (YP) event. Some participants were there to learn about graduate school opportunities. Others were looking for tools. Nearly everyone had examples of situations where their message had gone awry in a well-intentioned intercultural context.
“The level of appropriate disclosure when someone asks, ‘How are you?’ is so different here than in my home country,” noted one participant. Knowing chuckles spread around the room, accompanied by nodding heads and a few related anecdotes. The tone had been set for the perfect intercultural experience: comradery, inquisitiveness, and a dose of humor.
The WorldOregon YPs host C.U.L.T. (C U Last Tuesday) events such as this workshop, in addition to biweekly discussion groups, quarterly trivia nights, and international visitor receptions. To find upcoming events, check out the WorldOregon events page and join the YP facebook page. Events are open to anyone and are often free or subsidized for WorldOregon members. The YPs share an interest in learning about the world, traveling abroad, networking with visionary leaders, and expanding their knowledge of global affairs. They connect Oregon’s globally minded community with each other and the world.