MY DECISION TO STUDY in France my junior year of college was pivotal. In France, I endured my most sustained experience with vulnerability, that wonderful tutor of our adult years, by trying to live immersed in the language. …
My cross-cultural rules were straightforward: Avoid compatriots and other English speakers. Avoid speaking my own language. Find groups in the host culture and participate in them as much as my outsider status allows. Avoid bashing the host culture and be generous to my own. Avoid groups of foreigners who like to engage in such bashing. Speak the new language as much as possible. Because I couldn’t speak the new language conversationally and avoided speaking my own, I found myself doing a lot of listening and cultural observation. This was not a bad thing.
Later, after spending more time in other cultures, I added another rule: Whatever I think I understand about a culture or group after spending extensive time there, ditch it. Whatever grasp I think I have on the culture after one year, I should be prepared to totally turn it on its head in the second year.
– Dee Dee Risher
The Soulmaking Room
From page 59 of The Soulmaking Room by Dee Dee Risher. Copyright © 2016 by Dee Dee Risher. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Why did the author let go of what she learned her first year in a different culture? Share your thoughts.
Bless our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living, and has not let our feet slip.
Psalm 66:8-9, NRSV
This Week: pray for your enemies. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.
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This week we remember: Isidore the Farmer (May 15).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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