Thursday, March 11, 2010

‘What am I doing here?’ Part 4 – Goal 2

Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served

I am working to promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of Moroccans. In working toward this, Goal Two, I have lived with two different host families for a total of 4 months and in my own house in my community for 2 months. This means that I have been spending time living and talking with Moroccans every day since I got here. I am living as a very visible example of who Americans are for a community that has only ever seen Americans on television.
            Moreover I have participated in sessions and conversations specifically aimed at cross-cultural exchange. These have included question and answer sessions with working Moroccan professionals as well as short presentations to Moroccan middle school and high school students.
In doing these things I have already dispelled some common misconceptions held by Moroccans about Americans such as that the belief that ‘All Americans are really, really drunk, 24 hours a day 7 days a week’ and ‘All Americans think all Moroccans are bad.’ I have also had some fun explaining things like the fact that, ‘yes, we also eat couscous in California, it was the first food I learned how to cook’ or ‘yes, I put milk in my tea, to me it isn’t bizarre, it is normal.’ And of course my personal favorite, ‘just because I am from California, does not mean I know Opera Winfrey’ (her show is shown here with Arabic subtitles.)

Part 5 to follow…

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