Guest Blogger: Tim Muth, Director of Student & Program Assessment
We have reached the end of the X-Culture project. My 26 students and I have been on a rollercoaster of activity (and emotions) for the past few months. Sometimes the activity was very exciting and challenging and other times my students were frustrated and discouraged. In the end, most students were exhausted but elated to finish their team reports.
In our final class, each student made a brief presentation discussing their project ideas and reflecting on their international cultural experiences. Some of the product and service ideas were quite innovative: McDonald’s & Weight Watchers partnership ; GroupIt by YouTube ; Walt Disney’s “Little Entrepreneurs” program; Toyota’s hybrid Scion automobile; BP solar plants in Algeria & Morocco ; Apple iGame console; and many, many more creative ideas.
The academic portion of the project was quite important but even more valuable were the cultural lessons learned throughout the project. My students learned about the joys and frustrations of : relying on others to complete their assignments on time; reaching consensus with people that view the world much differently than you; finding a convenient to meet when your teammates are in five different time zones; even though they were communicating in English, finding out how people interpret the same words in different ways; making friends that live half a world away; and learning even though everyone is different, we share many things in common (family, friends, Facebook).
Participating in the X-Culture project had a profound impact on all of us and hopefully, my students will apply the knowledge they acquired to their work careers. I would like to thank Dr. Vas Taras (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) for organizing and coordinating this massive project which included 40 universities, 250 teams, and 1,500 students. I would like to thank my students for their positive attitudes, “can-do” attitude, and gracious respect for their teammates. Have a relaxing and enjoyable summer and we will be back in the fall for more X-Culture escapades.