Although it has been awhile since the Law and International Development Conference, I’d like to respond to blog assignment #8 regarding cultural intelligence. The group I was a part of presented on cultural intelligence and its relationship to NGOs and good development at the conference. When we started brainstorming cultural intelligence, I didn’t know what it was, and I certainly didn’t feel comfortable enough with it to teach others about it. However, as I observed my Southeast Asian counterparts at the conference, I quickly picked up on a couple of culturally-appropriate themes. The first: respect. All of the Cambodian and Korean students began their comments by saying “I appreciate your presentation,” and began their presentations by saying, “Dear professors, honorable guests, ladies and gentlemen,” always establishing respect. This same respect carried over into our discussion time. While Americans value individualism and have no problem asserting their opinions boldly, Southeast Asians tend to join a discussion and voice their opinions in a more subtle and respectful manner. This may stem from a more communal mindset, where Cambodians may prefer to blend into the crowd.
Thank you for your support and diligence in reading our blog. I know I can speak for everyone when I say we appreciate knowing our family and friends back home are supporting us when we are half a world away. As I reflect back on the past two weeks of this interim, I can’t believe how quickly it has flown, but I also can’t believe how much learning and life we have experienced in that time. We look forward to showing you all of our pictures and sharing stories in less than a week!