At the end of the second year in Open University, I have looked closer at overall English skills. Particularly, studying American and British cultures does wonders for me from the variety of new things during the course. This following essay will express my feelings about this subject and what I have learned so far.
Initially, this progress helps me get a deep insight into American and British values. I used to think that there was just one crucial difference between these two cultures, that is the accent of the English language.
However, experience of this course showed that was not true. There are a lot of cultural, social and economic aspects differing the USA and Great Britain, but still, they have got some things in common, probably because English culture used to be considered as a mother- culture for American. Lessons about these cultures left a great impression on me.
Working in small groups is a great opportunity for me to widen and share my knowledge with my peers.
It helps everyone to work in a more interactive environment encouraging communication and getting things done in the most efficient result. For example, solidarity in the team considerably supports us in overcoming difficulties during the course. By observing the process behind these skills, I learn how to combine gifts and become a stronger team. Also, creativity thrives when people work together on a team. Brainstorming ideas as a group prevents stale viewpoints that often come out of working individual. Combining unique perspectives from each team member creates more effective solutions.
I was really into working in a team because it was a good chance to enhance my skills, such as searching for information, managing time effective.
Besides that, studying under a prestigious professor who passionately passed on not only the profound knowledge but also practical experience motivates me a lot. She never made things complicated and tried over and over again to teach something to us. She had a unique way of teaching and could explain complex topics very quickly. Thus, everything I learned from her was exciting and that was why I remembered most of the theories and techniques she taught me. I was deeply impressed by her insightful knowledge about every aspect of this subject. My teacher, indeed, was the special one not only because of her “depth of knowledge” in this subject but also because of her great helping attitude. What I liked most was Mindmap, which was a novel teaching methodology, assisted me a lot in memorizing. Alternatively, she applied a learner-centered teaching approach efficiently in every lesson that she took.
Consulting a wide range of books ranging from periodicals to references not only help me understand lessons clearly, but they also deepened my knowledge. When I read periodicals intentionally, I found that purpose not only directed my reading towards a goal but also helped me to focus my attention and knowledge-based information. Choosing an appropriate source of information saved my time and helped me get hold of relevant information. Thanks to reading the variety of books in English during the course, I also enhanced my English skills, especially in reading.
After finishing this subject, I feel that I am much more confident in interacting with foreigners than in the past. Furthermore, studying their cultures and behaviors will support me a lot in the work environment as well as daily conversations in the future. I realize that when I feel confident about myself, I believe I have a significant and meaningful place in the world, which is giving me a positive attitude. Confidence creates positive energy to take action to achieve my personal and professional goals and dreams. The more highly motivated and energized I am, the more likely I am to take immediate action. To some extent, it is not merely a subject that I have to pass, but it is worth an experience broadening my horizon.
Although I passionated into American and British cultures, I must confess that maybe the cultural distinctions between Western and Asia somehow confused me a little bit about what I had studied. For instance, American English tends to be more direct with “I’ll have a coffee” being an acceptable way to order in the States while in the UK “Could I have a coffee?” is still preferred. I would not be completely accustomed to their cultures, and it would take time for me to get used to them. Sometimes, when it comes to race, cultural misunderstandings can also lead to resentments. It can be so challenging to find common ground with people from other countries, especially when their customs and seem so different from my own. That was the only thing I was not satisfied with what I had studied.
In comparison with the traditional teaching method involving a one-way process of transmission of knowledge, Mindmap can be considered as an unconventional teaching strategy in keeping my interests and empower me for future- self-learning and critical thinking. Visual stimulants of different colors and symbols combined with connections I make will engage my brain much more effectively than traditional methods. What I like most about this kind of methodology is that I can use in a lot of different fields because it assists me to summary and review at I have learned fully within a short time. The greatest advantage of Mindmap is that they focus on the visual representation of information I need to learn, and I can put color schemes, letters, and symbols that already associate my brain with something so the learning will be even faster. In particular, I find drawing curved lines and shapes effective in memorizing my knowledge for a long time.
Back in the day, I was nervous whenever I had to make a presentation. I was really afraid that the audience was secretly waiting to laugh at my mistakes. At that time, that was the hardest fear I had to overcome. Teachers in Open University show me the correct definition of a presentation and how professional a presenter should be. I was taught how to use the eye-contact to catch attraction. I also learn how to prepare carefully before the topic is presented in front of the class. As well as that, dressing up should be intentionally focused on when making a presentation. A presenter should put on formal clothes to become professional and show respect to the listeners. Presenting information clearly and effectively is a key in getting messages across.
During this course, students accumulated one green mark for being on time. On top of that, the teacher can make assessments about students’ characteristic based on an amount of marks. That is an encouragement, and thanks to that, I have a strong sense of discipline. There is a direct link between punctuality and discipline. Punctuality forms discipline. It is not about staying quiet in class, it is about getting tasks done on time. The more punctual I am, the more work I will be able to do. So, my confidence level will increase. It is very much essential to develop this character. I am convinced that punctuality is a vital trait which must have in every individual. It plays crucial roles in every walk of life and benefits a person in positive ways.
I am residing in a residential area which has a lot of foreigners migrating from other countries. So far, I have known how to keep a social distance with whom I met for the first time, and it is acceptable standing closer when I talk to my foreigner friends. I realize that Americans want to be engaged, sometimes even entertained. A little humor goes a long way. So I should be selective of the information I share. Moreover, I am aware of avoiding talking sensitive topics, not making noise in public as well as not staring at strangers. I believe that I can put what I have learned into practice regularly, and they can do wonders for my future jobs, especially in building good relationships.
When I was younger, I thought that anything would be possible because I had a great deal of time. That lacking awareness gradually leads to procrastination. The older I am, the more critical of time I appreciate. I am supposed proper time management is something that can change my life on a fundamental basis for the better. Adequate time management leads to improve efficiency and productivity, less stress, and more success in life. I am trying to put effort and do my best in every single plan as soon as possible. Every daily cycle consists of twenty four hours. That is the only thing that cannot be changed. Even though I cannot control time, I can control how the time is used. This realization is the first crucial step to being efficient in my time management.
“You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel” (Robert Tew). Americans and British are famous for their politeness, self-discipline and especially for their sense of humor. Basic courtesy is expected. Take “ Excuse me” as an example. They usually say that when coughing, sneezing, or asking someone for information. Before, I did not pay attention to this. After practicing many times in specific circumstances, I realize this is an advantageous and polite expression. What strikes me most is about “Leaving tips” lesson. Although tipping is not widespread in Vietnam, it is considered compulsory in American restaurants. Also, American tend to leave tips after they had their luggage delivered to their room by the bellman. A few extra tips do not mean to make staffs rich, but it will help them feel appreciated. Tipping also drives staffs to provide the best service.
There are differences between Eastern and Western problem- solving techniques. Among colleagues, those Westerners who are confident and fearless in offering their ideas are viewed as highly intelligent and impressive people. In Western countries, they solve their problems by focusing on the issue at hand and derive a solution based on the advantages and disadvantages. Westerners think it is best to solve problems directly and quickly with as little emotions as possible even if it means disrupting the feelings of others. The individualistic nature of Westerners encourages them to speak up and articulate what they think of a project or a proposed solution to the issue. In other words, they are more direct and efficient in solutions. I find it extremely effective, and it is worth inquiring.
Back in the day, I was not into reading because I found it boring and unbeneficial. Studying in university requires me to write a lot, and I was taught, “ good writing begins with good reading.” Also, reading is one of the most significant factors to help me comprehend lessons. I have been somehow challenging me until now. I force myself to be in the habit of reading by doing it day by day and putting skills to work. I try to practice every day because I know reading is essential to university students, no matter what field I am going into. The more effectively I read, the more straightforward lessons will be, the less time it will take, and the more I will enjoy the experience.
I have been brought up in my parent’s protection, so I mostly rely on them. I tend to call them whenever I am under a lot of pressure or get insane because my parents always have a way of making the worst situations seem better. When I think about, the root cause of my dependence on parents is not trusting myself. I am trying to remedy this situation by doing things on my own, and it is even good to make mistakes. If something goes wrong, I will handle the situation without calling my parents for assistance. I am supposed that my twenties are all about failures and learning from mistakes. I am gradually aware of being independent also supports individuals to develop their self- esteem, self- confidence, and self- knowledge.
In conclusion, I have encountered many things which can be applied in real life situations. Furthermore, I find this progress both engaging and motivating for me. Thanks to my instructor, I have gained a lot when I studied American and British cultures course, it not only enriched my knowledge but also grew me into a mature individual.
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