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CCE Independent Study - Domestic

CCE Learning Objectives:
  1. to gain skills in cross-cultural communication
  2. to understand how the world might look from the standpoint of another community of interpretation and experience
  3. to learn how to discern and, where appropriate, adapt to the cultural expectations of the other
  4. to witness other cultural embodiments of faith, and thus to reflect on the substance and definition of one's own faith by comparison

Credit Requirements

  1. Prior to your experience – Write a Racial/Ethnic Identity Statement. (You will need to include this with your completed IDIS-290 contract.) Write a statement (350 words) about how you identify yourself racially/ ethnically. How important is identity to you? What does it mean to be “x” in the United States? What is one thing that you appreciate about this identity? What is one thing that you would want people to know about this racial/ethnic group?
  2. Complete an IDIS-290 contract, with all required signatures.
  3. Prior to your experience - complete two short online self-assessment/awareness quizzes and write a one-page reflection about how you did on the assessments and what you learned about yourself in the process.
    a. Select Project Implicit Social Attitudes and complete TWO tests, each addressing a different racial/ethnic group.
  4. Read a book about Race Relations in the United States. You can, if you choose, read this book prior to your experience. Write a reflection paper (350 words) on the book. The reflection should highlight several key points, identify things that were particularly helpful to you, and include your emotional responses about what you read. Select a book from the list below:

    • The Heart of Racial Justice by Brenda Salter McNeil and Rick Richardson (ISBN-10: 0830837221)
    • Gather at the Table by Tom DeWolf and Sharon Morgan (ISBN-10: 0807014419)
    • A Beginner’s Guide to Crossing Cultures by Patty Lane (ISBN: 978-0-8308-2346-8)
    • Witnessing Whiteness by Shelly Tochluk (ISBN: 978-1-60709-257-5)
    • Racism Without Racists by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (ISBN-10: 1442202181)
  5. Cross-Cultural Conversations (the goal is a minimum of 20 hours of conversations with cultural informants). These conversations are to be with adults (ages 18 and over) who are racially/ethnically different than yourself. You can engage one or several people. This should be thought of as times of sharing your story as much as you are listening to the story of your cultural informant. This is NOT to be thought of as an interview. As much as possible, have these conversations over a meal, as part of a cultural excursion, or in an informal setting. (These conversations should be documented in your reflective writing.)
    Cross-Cultural Conversations Possible topics:

    • How does this person spend a typical day? How does this compare to your day?
    • What are some of the traditions and customs that are important in this informant's culstural community?
    • Do racial tensions exist? Do you both see racial tensions or the lack thereof in the same way? What would each of you think it would take to solve racial tensions in the United States?
    • Talk about food, music, other forms of media, politics, education, hopes, fears, etc.
    • Talk about what you do in your spare time. Who do you look up to? Where do you see yourselves 5 years from now? Etc.
  6. Cross-Cultural Faith Explorations:
    Church Visit - Attend at least one church service associated with a group that is different from your own racial/ethnic identity OR is a church which has racial reconciliation as a part of its mission. (Note: you may also want to check Calvin's list of local churches. Write reflectively on this experience (350 words).
  7.     Churches of possible interest located in the Grand Rapids area:
  8. Cultural Explorations: Three (3) visits/encounters. These visits/ encounters are meant to enhance your understanding of the racial/ethnic group associated with your cultural informant. These trips/visits may occur with or without your informant (we strongly suggest that they occur with your informant). These visits or trips may include, but are not limited to: authentic ethnic restaurants, lectures at Calvin during UnLearn Week or FEN SYM, cultural celebrations within the community, museum exhibits and art shows about the people group, documentary-style movies, etc.
  9. Reflective writing (generally journalling, this can be done electronically (like a blog) or in a bound journal). Reflective writing helps you PROCESS your cross-cultural experience for the purpose of: critical reflection, clarification of issues, asking questions, expressing concerns, testing theories against experience, and sharing insights.
    Ideas for Reflections (a minimum of 7 entries; each entry between 200 and 350 words):
    • Conversations with your supervisor about their cross-cultural experiences
    • Conversations with your cultural informants
    • Reflections on passages from the book selected
    • Observations of cultural similarities and differences
    • Observations of cultural explorations
    • Experiences of cultural shock
    • Things that you have questions about
    • Exploration of racial/ethnic tensions within your informants' cultural community
    • Reflections on your identity
    • Explorations of challenges, affirmations, and growth of your own faith
  10. Final reflective paper (1500 – 2000 words)
    a. How did you meet the CCE Objectives listed above?
    b. What lessons in cross-cultural interactions from this experience will have a lasting impact?
    c. How is what you learned about the nature of race relations from the readings different from     and/or similar to what you learned about race relations from your cultural informant?
    d. In what ways does a faith perspective differ from a secular perspective in addressing race    relations? Is this helpful?
    e. In what ways, if any, did your actual experience differ from what you thought this experience     would be like? Explain.
    f. What steps will you take to further your cross-cultural experience and deepen your cultural     knowledge?

Turn in all materials to your faculty member listed on your independent study contract by the last day of exams for the semester or interim in which you want your credit applied.