Sunday, August 28, 2011

Study Abroad Experience | Phase I

Psychological Sense of Community by McMillan & Chavis, 1986

"Sense of Community is a feeling that members' needs will be met through their commitment to be together."

Four Elements of Sense of Community first include the thought of membership. Membership can be identified in 5 ways; boundaries, emotional safety, a sense of belonging and identification, and a common symbol system. Each of these characteristics 'rubberband' people into the stable comfort of felling like a member.

The second includes influence. In order for a community to form they must feel like that have a just power as multiples. Recognizing a similar need and how it needs to be adjusted or fixed becomes a motivational influence.

The third way consists of integration and fulfillment of needs. For myself the drive for needs in a community is one of the strongest factors. Needs pull on the idea of a humans basic survival skills. Without the essential needs a community doesn't have a base foundation to start growing or thrive on the basics.

The fourth one becomes a shared emotional connection. I believe that emotion is the strongest link for a community. Panic spreads like wildfire, doesn't it? Ever hear that laughter is contagious? That's right. This quality of interaction creates the possibility for people to share similar stories, moods, and set the table for the direction the community is headed in.

This brings me to the direction of Loren Cook and I, in our first multi media experience project of the semester. So here's the scenario:

A group of college students [scattered across the United States] wish to study abroad. Where do they even begin? What happens when they get there? Searching about culture, currency, slang, language, customs, religion, and information about the area they are going is scattered across the internet. Once reading all of these sites and filling up 1,000 bookmarks to their browser they start thinking about the relationships of friends and peers over in that country. Thought like, "How do I act?" or "How will I get situated?" pop into their head. Once getting off the plane, after scrambling to get everything from living to their bearings around the city straight, the culture shock gives them the 'push' of a life time. Sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Let's just say, I'm not sure if the word 'shock' is associated with any organized feelings.

This is where all of these fears and assumptions can be put into real time and collected in one space through a web community and an iPad and iPhone application.

Urban Dictionary , relating to language and slang
International Travel Abroad Checklist , just the tip of where to begin – no personal experience.

This graph helps grasp the stages of culture shock and gives us questions to answer to make the community we're targeting have the best experience possible.

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