This assignment utilizes information from previous assignments, lectures, and activities on self–awareness, cultural knowledge, cultural skills, and communication.
Parts of this assignment were adapted from:
Luckman, J. (2000). Transcultural communication in health care. Albany, Delmar Thompson Learning.
Becoming a participant–observer is a based on a learning continuum. The first assignment, based on this continuum, is the cultural visit. As the student becomes more familiar with cultural encounters, he or she will progress from the cultural visit to assuming the role of observer and then participant–observer. The student may choose from the list of suggestions below or discuss another type of visit with the instructor. All site visits must be approved by the course instructor previous to the actual visit. Students should travel in pairs and arrange the visit during daylight hours and observe safety precautions while in unfamiliar neighborhoods. Since this is a learning experience that should take the student into an unknown situation, students should choose a visit to a place that is different from their background and culture. The student should be prepared to discuss their cultural visit and experiences in the following week's lab.
The following are suggestions:
- Go to a market in an ethnic neighborhood and ask the store personal about the different foods that are available, and how to prepare them.
- Go to an ethnic pharmacy or a location where complementary medicines are sold; this can include a Hispanic Botanica or an Asian store where Chinese Medicine is practiced. Ask the store owner or a worker who is knowledgeable, about the various medicines and herbs that are sold. Which ones are most commonly purchased and for what conditions?
- Visit a church, temple, or place of worship that is different from the religion you were raised in. The place of worship should be located in an ethnic/racial minority neighborhood. Introduce yourself to the person who leads the service and ask questions about that particular faith that will help you to become familiar with their belief system. Are there certain expectations for members? Are their restrictions or practices that health care providers should have knowledge about? Do persons who belong to this faith dress in a certain way, worship in a particular manner?
- Meet with concerned citizens in a neighborhood that is economically challenged. Attend a neighborhood block club meeting, a neighborhood re-vitalization meeting, or a meeting that involves some type of community action.
- Attend a community theater in an ethnic/racial minority neighborhood. Report on your experience, were social issues raised, did you understand the issues, could you relate to the content?
- Go to a restaurant in an ethnic/racial minority neighborhood and order something on the menu that you are not familiar with. Ask the server to describe this dish, the ingredients, and how it is cooked.