Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Project Proposal: Culture Intergration

Lamees Al Balushi
Zachary Hastreiter
Christian Straussner
Xinyue Wang
COMM 250
23 Feb. 2015

Project Proposal: Culture Intergration

 In recent years, America has been attracting more students from all over the world to attend America’s top Universities to pursue academic degrees. Foreign students attending U.S Universities have created micro multicultural societies in which students from different cultures meet. The students that attend Universities in America often seek each other out due to similar attributes. These students work to communicate with each other but there are some difficulties that often become apparent. Midwestern states like Nebraska, as compared with states on the west and east coast, often have a lower number of international students. At the University of Nebraska the foreign student population is a smaller percentile compared to the overall academic population of the University environment. Therefore, the difficulties that international students face in adapting to the environment of the United States and the University, in particular, is more difficult than what the native students are facing on a daily basis. It is apparent that there is a need to assist international with their transition to a US Universities as well as students programs for students.  There is a need to for improvement.  
In noting our experiences and the experiences of others, we learned that there are many organized activities that can improve interaction between international students and native students, and that they can be helpful, but it’s not enough. Multicultural communication in the world has become more diverse. It’s particularly important for college students in multi-cultural environments to improve their communication between each other. We decided to focus our project on improving the communication based difficulties, and making the communication between international students and the native students more efficient by using various social media outlets.
To understand the difficulties that the international and native students face in communicating and their attitudes to each other, we constructed a survey to interview students. The survey was created and will be conducted by Lamees and Xinyue, and interviews created and to be conducted by Zach and Christian. The survey will contain two sets of questions. The first set of questions target is to learn the difficulties that the two groups of students have with communication and interacting or contacting different cultures. The second part of the survey is about how students use the various social media outlets, and learning the attitudes of students toward different cultures. We would use our findings to draw conclusions on how to improve these communication challenges. Lamees and Xinyue will use Facebook as one aspect to provide a survey to their friends and fellow students.  An interview with students will be conducted and elaborate on some fundamental concept questions relating to international students at UNL and how communication is a large factor in their terms of a settlement. The interview questions will ask students about their culture and how they have adapted to the UNL academic and social groups or environment.  
In conducting the survey and interviews, we hope to raise awareness to the UNL community by providing our informational platforms to the International Student and Scholar Office in hope that it will provide awareness of these issues affecting foreign students that apply and attend UNL. After gathering the insights from the survey and interviews, we will conduct several activities which will connect students by using various social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, HiNative, and Youtube.  
To conduct the survey and interviews, we will have to take into account that language can be a factor as well as a cultures social conduct. These factors could be two significant barriers to prevent the two groups of students to communicate with each other effectively.  To combat these factors or barriers, we will use social media outlets, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to conduct survey and interview type activities and to collect information about the various students’ cultures; we will use Youtube or Instagram, to record videos of international students allowing these students to introduce their cultures to UNL. Another target is to introduce HiNative; an app, in which people can learn the language they are interested in using.  For example, if you don’t know how to express a term or question in English, the user would post a question to HiNative and then the native speaker would answer the question for you. HiNative would allow native students to provide assistance to international students, helping them improve their English and adapting to UNL. An excerpt of questions will include asking the following: Where the student is from? What was their decision process in choosing UNL? What clubs/organizations is he/she apart of on campus? How do they get connected or interested in those groups? Is it difficult to get involved on campus?  Is there a communication barrier? Have you asked other international students to become involved in the groups you have joined on campus?
Upon completion of the surveys and interviews, we begin activities that will utilize the social media outlets. Facebook, Twitter and Instragram will be used to address some of the questions students have regarding other’s languages and cultures. These outlets will provide a forum for students to answer and check their knowledge about different cultures. To encourage participation, students will be rewarded for participating in the set activities. The social media activities will provide an outlet for assistance to the international students to improve their language skills and communication and in turn the native students will learn about other cultures effectively.        

Interviews (Zach and Christian) and survey (Lamees and Xinyue) will be completed by March 6th. Once we have combined all the information from the two sources, we will have some insight on how to create activities that will assist with the difficulties of communication between multi-cultural groups. The activities planned will be set up by Lamees and Xinyue, and will be based from the information compiled from the survey, interviews and social initial social media activity. After the planned activities are completed, Zach and Christian will analyze the activities results.  Analyzing the activities results will create insight into how the communication process is working between students groups. A final report will be completed to provide a summary of our projects findings and contain proposed suggestions to provide to UNL International Student and Scholar Office for future assistance with international students attending UNL. 

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