- On 07 September 2016
- By Thomas
As part of the August CTEFL course in Florence, trainees completed a rigorous, creative assignment involving lesser-known cultural highlights in the city. Working in teams and with a mindset of a Renaissance explorer, they not only discovered these hidden treasures, but interacted with the local environment to increase their cross-cultural awareness and empathy. Here is an example:
Trainee Observation: “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” –Marcus Tullius Cicero
An English Essayist named Samuel Johnson once said, "A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.” This quote struck a chord with me, as there are so many amazing sights to see in Florence. While most of the sites are very well known throughout Europe and the world, there are many other lesser-known places that should also be visited while in Florence. Charlie and I took the time to visit the Marucelliana library and the Tepidarium at the Horticultural gardens today, both of which managed to increase our appreciation of an amazing city.
Trainer Comment: "Your choice of quotations added a special resonance to your observations; it helped the reader understand something about you both—the observers---and your sharing the experience with us. Bravo! You understood immediately from the choice of your assigned sights that culture is definitely found in less-popular or less-famous places. Your opportunity to live and learn here in Florence is also a chance to see Florence through a local resident’s eyes—and you did it! And well! By working together you shared the feeling of discovery and wonder that many tourists do not always see. The presence of another person, your teammate, also helps to create this positive curiosity and conversation. Excellent reflection, story-telling, and activity! Continue to reflect on these special places and cultural “markers,” and remember your active searching and researching this month in Florence!
CAN YOU SPELL CULTURE?
- C- culture is pervasive – Everyone, every organization, every region, and every country has a culture.
- U – Understanding cultural beliefs, values, and perceptions of others is a key to success. AND vice versa
- L – Learning diverse cultural heritage is rewarding, inspiring and empowering
- T – Teamwork in the increasingly global and diverse workplace is impossible without cultural intelligence
- U – “Us” and “Them” cultural programming and divide can be eased through better understanding of “their” perceptions
- R – Rapport starts with understanding of where the other people are coming from and acceptance of their point of view and style.
- E – Exploiting cultural diversity is a key to unlimited innovation and growth