Today, as an end of the semester celebration and also as a part of our final unit on intercultural communication, the 21C Skills class went to the Asmara restaurant in Cambridge to try Eritrean/Ethiopian food. We sat at traditional tables- a wicker basket of sorts- and ate using injera, a spongy flat bread. Students enjoyed the sampling of beef, lamb, chicken and lentil dishes and shared everything family style. We discussed the importance and polite lends of washing hands before eating when your hands are your primary utensil ! One student remarked that it seemed rude to eat the bread that was underneath the food, noting how different situations call for different rules of etiquette. In our preparations for the trip, students researched other “know before you go” hints. Their project for this unit will be to create a corporate training video for a business who is sending employees to another country, providing information on etiquette related to greeting, gifts, dining, clothing, formality and other topics.
Yesterday, our class had another intercultural experience. Mr. Costello presented to us in American Sign Language (ASL) through the use of an interpreter on Deaf Culture. He is a teacher at The Learning Center for the Deaf and provided us with information about what daily life is like in Deaf culture, as well as some of the challenges faced and tips on how to interact when communicating with a deaf person. I know that I personally learned a lot and they students asked many good questions.