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Annual Conference on Intercultural Relations | IMI

Adriana Medina & Maria Mueller


What Did You Think about Them? Exploring First Encounters with Cultural Diversity: A Simulation

Presenter(s): Adriana Medina, Maria Mueller

Description: Participants in this session will experience a simulation where two different cultures (planet A and planet B) meet to interact with each other. The purpose of the simulation is to zero in the experience of people's first encounters with cultural difference and their reactions to it when there is great difference between behaviors. The beings of each planet are given behaviors that they need to abide by and are asked to determine, as a group, certain things about their planet. When the planets meet, the participants are invited to learn about the other planet. This simulation has a structured debrief in which participants explore their thoughts about the other culture and their feelings while having the interaction. Participants will discuss stereotypes, how they are formed and how to manage them. The session will conclude with instructions on how to run the simulation. Objectives: To identity emotions and feelings that might emerge when individuals encounter cultural difference; To become aware of how stereotypes are formed; To understand how to manage stereotypes; To be able to replicate this activity.

Level: Intermediate

Delivery: Game/Simulation

Track: Cross-Cutting Topics in Intercultural Relations

Associate Professor of Intercultural Communication and Spanish; University of Maryland Baltimore County

Adriana Medina-López-Portillo is Associate Professor of Intercultural Communication and Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). She is a member of the Center for the Advancement of Intercultural Communication and an affiliate faculty in the Language, Literacy and Culture doctoral program (both at UMBC), and the founder of the Baltimore chapter of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research (SIETAR). She is a qualified Intercultural Development Inventory administrator and a Personal Leadership: Making a World of Difference®and Emotional Intelligence facilitator. She is an accomplished intercultural trainer, having designed and led workshops for higher education, not-for-profit, governmental, and corporate clients in the United States and abroad. Among her favorite appointments are training for The Scholar Ship, a transnational academic program housed on a passenger ship, and offering pre-departure and on site orientations for the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. Currently, she is leading a three-year long cultural competence initiative for the Division of Student Affairs at UMBC and working with The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School on sessions on cultural resilience for their international students. She has given presentations at SIETAR, the Association of International Education Administrators, the National Institutes of Health, the North American Simulation and Gaming Association, and the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience, among others. Her research focuses on study abroad, intercultural competence development, emotional intelligence and personal leadership. Among her publications are book chapters entitled "Interculturality vs. Intercultural Competencies in Latin America" (in The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence), "Developing a global learning and living community: A case study of intercultural experiences on The Scholar Ship" (in Education Abroad for the Learner: Theory, Research, Design, &Training), and "Intercultural Practices: Linking Theory to Practice" (in America for all Americans: Intercultural Practices).

Graduate Conference Coordinator at Residential Life

Maria Mueller is a second-year graduate student in the program of Intercultural Communication at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) with a focus in intercultural training. She also takes classes to receive a certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) in May of 2015 when she will graduate with her master's degree. She is a citizen of Germany and has studied in Germany for a Bachelor's degree in elementary school education at the University of Erfurt. After she received an undergraduate degree in 2011, she worked for one year for the University of Mary Washington as a German Language Instructor and taught language and culture to the undergraduate students. She worked in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and worked with other language instructors from all over the world. Currently, Maria is a Conference Coordinator for Residential Life at UMBC and teaches German Language practice and culture as a Teaching Assistant. Through her track in intercultural training she has trained the student staff in her department and other campus groups. She co-presented this past October at the North America Simulation and Game Association (NASAGA) conference and is also a member of the graduate student organization for the "Interculturalists" at UMBC.