Example of students’ narratives as expressed through their video-log for each intercultural sensitivity stage. Narratives are listed by T-Units with the respective plot analysis code.
DENIAL (ERASMUS student)
SETTING: My culture incident happened about six months ago in Rome / during my work experience
SETTING: It was just a normal day at the canteen
SETTING: And I ordered some pasta with tuna /
SETTING: And I also wanted some parmigiano on top
INITIATING ACTION: And I was wondering why the woman didn’t ask me if I wanted some parmigiano with my pasta like she usually does with Risotto with soup
SETTING: And for me it’s very unusual to have cheese in my soup because this is something we don’t do in Slovenia
COMPLICATING ACTION: And instead of just adding the cheese and passing me over the plate the woman just started laughing at me so much that everybody turned around everybody stared at me
COMPLICATING ACTION: And the situation was obviously very embarrassing and very very confusing for me
COMPLICATING ACTION: And um / yeah so I decided to go for an afternoon coffee with my Italian colleagues
HIGH POINT/TURNING POINT: And I asked them why why would people laugh at me what is so weird about it
COMPLICATING ACTION: And uh / they answered they laughed all at the same time
COMPLICATING ACTION: And they were like // how could you how could you even think of having fish with cheese and it's so disgusting
COMPLICATING ACTION: And it’s just like having your cappuccino at four in the afternoon / pointing at my cappuccino
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: And um so the question still remained unanswered
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: And I just assumed it’s one of those many rules that I’ve learned in Italy during my stay
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: Such as / no cappuccino after 10 am no pizza for lunch no wine with pizza only beer
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: And um / yah so all those rules for me they don’t make sense
There’s no reason in my opinion
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: And uh / and I just keep having the the cheese with my fish
DEFENSE (US student)
SETTING: The first Saturday I was with 4 other friends
INITIATING ACTION: and we decided to go to Assisi.
SETTING: We arrived at the train station a good 20 minutes before.
SETTING: I thought this would be plenty of time.
COMPLICATING ACTION: First I had to try to navigate those machines.
COMPLICATING ACTION: This went okay but I had also been warned that I HAD to validate my train ticket before going on the train.
COMPLICATING ACTION: This was definitely different from the United States
8. but we were certain that we had to do this.
COMPLICATING ACTION: So we went to the validation machines.
COMPLICATING ACTION: It took me about 5 minutes to figure out how to use the machines.
COMPLICATING ACTION: It was really (giggle) embarrassing,
COMPLICATING ACTION: and I don’t know why I had trouble with it
COMPLICATING ACTION: but it was definitely a little different from the United States.
COMPLICATING ACTION: You don’t have to do that to do the trains.
COMPLICATING ACTION: But then when we all looked at our train tickets,
COMPLICATING ACTION: we could not figure out which platform to go to.
COMPLICATING ACTION: We had about 10 minutes but still we were a little nervous
COMPLICATING ACTION: and none of us could even remember the word FOR “platform.”
COMPLICATING ACTION: We later learned it was “binario.”
COMPLICATING ACTION: But still it was a little worrying.
COMPLICATING ACTION: Everyone started freaking out “Oh no, oh no, where's our train, where's out train?”
COMPLICATING ACTION: Worse yet, there were no maps AROUND for us to figure out WHERE our train was going.
COMPLICATING ACTION: We couldn’t find any sign or anything that said Assissi,
COMPLICATING ACTION: so we all got a little nervous, a little freaked out.
COMPLICATING ACTION: We had to wait in line to ask someone WHERE our train was.
COMPLICATING ACTION: Now that left us 5 minutes (giggle) to get our train.
COMPLICATING ACTION: so we all had to RUN to get our train.
COMPLICATING ACTION: it was a little frantic and worrying and a little stressed stressed out
HIGH POINT/TURNING POINT: but we did it.
We eventually made our train.
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: For me, this showed how like everything is different, um not everything, but the train system and the whole idea of having to validate your ticket
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: and it also showed the different modernization of Italy.
COMPLICATING ACTION: I think in the US, there definitely would have been clear signs,
COMPLICATING ACTION: there would have been a map,
COMPLICATING ACTION: there would have been computerized signs showing us where to go, specific step-by-step instructions
COMPLICATING ACTION: but in Italy this was not the case.
CODA: It was a good cultural experience though because at first, once I learned how to do it,
ENDING: I now know how to use the train system very easily
CODA: and it puts in perspective the different train systems that are around all different cultures.
MINIMIZATION (US student)
SETTING: So coming to Florence we really didn’t know what to expect, what we would have, what we would be missing,
SETTING: So we decided one of the first weekends here to take a trip to Ikea.
SETTING: So one of the things that I love about home is my bed,
SETTING: And I tried to make my bed here as comfortable as it is at home and give me a little piece of home while I’m in my apartment here.
SETTING: So I’ve been to Ikea in America countless times,
SETTING: My mom is obsessed with, we always go.
SETTING: So I thought that getting sheets would be a no-brainer, very easy.
INITIATING ACTION: But it turns out that was not the case at all.
COMPLICATING ACTION: So, one of the first things that was troublesome was in America we use size like “Twin” “Queen,” and “King,” while in Italy they just show the dimensions in centimeters on the package which is completely different from how we do it at home COMPLICATING ACTION: and especially because I don’t, we didn’t really read Italian at all, I really had no idea at all how to read it.
COMPLICATING ACTION: So looking at the package at Ikea, I had no idea what was going on.
COMPLICATING ACTION: So I decided to go up to one of the people that was working there and hopefully they would speak English
COMPLICATING ACTION: And they didn’t.
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: Uhum, we talked to about four people,
COMPLICATING ACTION: And none of them spoke English very well,
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: So we decided to draw a picture
COMPLICATING ACTION: So I get out um a scrap piece of paper
COMPLICATING ACTION: and I’m trying to draw stick figures of twins
COMPLICATING ACTION: So I tried it out in stick figures, I’m not very good at drawing at all
HIGH POINT: And finally one of the um employees finally understands what I’m saying and she says “twin”?
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: And I’ve never been so excited to hear a word in my entire life.
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: And I was like “Yes, yes!”
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: So she brings the right package.
CODA: And it was really great to kind of even though we don’t speak Italian it was nice to still communicate to someone who is from a different culture from another language, like that had universal language between the two of us using gestures and pictures.
ENDING: It was nice to think that even though I don’t speak Italian I will be able to get along in Italy.
ACCEPTANCE (ERASMUS student)
SETTING: Hello, I want to talk about a cultural incident, which ah has happened the first time I went for a swim here in Padova.
SETTING: So, when I'm done with swimming, I I entered the showering room, the public showering room,
INITIATING ACTION: and there to my surprise,
I am each time confronted with um a couple of woman who are showering over there completely naked,
COMPLICATING ACTION: and who are not hiding themselves behind a curtain but doing it openly and naturally
COMPLICATING ACTION: and my first impression when I uh was in that situation was to apologize
and to take a step back to go away because I had the feeling that I entered a room where I was not allowed
HIGH POINT/TURNING POINT: but of course after a while I realized that for them it is apparently normal to do it like that
COMPLICATING ACTION: and I am allowed in the room
COMPLICATING ACTION: and they have no problem with me seeing them ah naked
COMPLICATING ACTION: so yea, of course I'm not used to it
SETTING: in Belgium where I live I have never experienced that before
COMPLICATING ACTION: we are yea, we are think more shy and more ashamed of ourselves
COMPLICATING ACTION: 12. and when we go for a shower in a public showering room, we always use our own little cabin
COMPLICATING ACTION: 13. and we close the curtain because NObody should see us
COMPLICATING ACTION: 14. and here atmosphere is open and can behave naturally without being ashamed of yourself;
COMPLICATING ACTION:15. you can even talk to each other
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: 16. so I like it very much
RESOLUTON STRATEGY: 17. but I don't know if at the end of my stay here in Padova, I will do it myself, I will behave like an Italian,
CODA. I don't know, I I don't think that I am capable of doing that um
CODA: but still it yea, it's really interesting to to be in a situation like this.
ADAPTATION (ERASMUS student)
SETTING: Hi, So I was initially going to do my video about a cultural incident here in Padova regarding my helmet.
SETTING: I’m one of the very few people who wear a helmet here in the city and how that has actually gotten me a lot of funny looks and stares.
SETTING: But I actually have a better story for you today, also regarding my bicycle and how I acted like an Italian because of it.
INITIATING ACTION: Um, so my bicycle broke down again yesterday
COMPLICATING ACTION: and I decided I would walk it down to the train station, park it there, and then on my way back from school, I'd ah, bring it to the bicycle repair by the station and then ride it home afterwards.
HIGH POINT/TURNING POINT: um but on my way back from school today, as I was passing the Giardino di Larena, um, I saw some guy selling my bicycle!
COMPLICATING ACTION: So I walked up to him,
COMPLICATING ACTION: and he said “oh, you want to buy this bicycle for you know 20E,”
COMPLICATING ACTION: and I said, “uh, excuse me sir, but this is my bicycle that you stole and are trying to sell to me.”
COMPLICATING ACTION: and he says “oh, 10 euros, buy it for 10 euros.”
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: oh, and I was being kind of Canadian and trying to reason with him and I said “Signore, questa é la mia bicicletta” [“Sir, this is my bicycle”]
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: and I’m being polite, and I said “I’m a student, I don’t have enough money to pay for a new lock, which you cut, and buy my bicycle back”
COMPLICATING ACTION: Um and he wouldn’t, and he said “cinque, take it, cinque” [“Five, take it, five”]
COMPLICATING ACTION: And after that, I got a little bit flustered,
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: and I think, because I was trying to speak to him in Italian, as well, I was feeling like an Italian, and so I took out the hands, and it’s like, “signore, questa é la mia bicicletta, no vado pagare dieci cinque per la mia bicicletta” [“Sir, this is my bicycle, I am not going to spend ten or five for my bicycle”].
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: and I even threatened to call the police
RESOLUTION STRATEGY: and um, I think he started thinking,
SETTING: probably back in Canada, I would have tried to negotiate a little bit more
SETTING: but it’s never happened that somebody stole my bicycle and tried to sell it back to me.
CODA: but, um, regardless, this is my story of how I acted like an Italian today, “ciao.”