Destination Vacation: Italy

Intercultural Communication

Destination Vacation Project

The Assignment: To plan a dream vacation. You are given a $15,000 grant that you can use to go anywhere in the world. In preparation of the trip, you will need to plan the logistics of the travel, analyze the relevant culture(s) and/or co-culture(s) of your choice and to examine the differences in values, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes and specific verbal and nonverbal communication differences in comparison to your own culture/co-culture (the location must contain a culture/co-culture different from your own).


The rationale: We learn more about our own communication when we explore the communication of other cultures. Through such exploration, we move closer to ethno-relativism.

Course objectives: The student shall be able to:

Analyze the culture(s) of a chosen destination.
Explain the verbal and non-verbal differences between his/her culture and co-culture and his/her chosen culture or co-culture for this project.
Design a plan that will improve the student’s communication with various cultures and co-cultures.
Upload documents to Reggienet.

Student outcomes:

The student will demonstrate the ability to compose a 7-10 page paper.
The student will use an effective attention getter.
The student will provide an appropriate thesis statement.
The student will locate appropriate supporting materials.
The students will develop a meaningful plan and itinerary for travel.
The student provides a thorough discussion of the values, beliefs, and behaviors of his or her culture/co-culture of choice.
The student demonstrates knowledge of verbal communication styles of his or her chosen culture/co-culture.
The student demonstrates knowledge of nonverbal communication styles of his or her chosen culture/co-culture.
The student draws critical conclusions about the appropriate norms and expectations for a visitor of this culture.
The student will develop articulate insights about what modifications in behavior must be made from their own cultural communication practices.
The student uses a meaningful, effective conclusion.
The student uses transitional phrases in between points.
The student demonstrates ethos by naturally incorporating multiple sources.
The student writes a source page using MLA or APA style.
The student demonstrates proper grammar/mechanics in writing.




Getting started:

Sign up for a vacation destination (which has an identifiable culture or co-culture different from your own) on Reggienet and confirm the location with me. Remember what we the difference is between the two, and pick a topic that would interest you the most. Sample cultural options could be: Japan, China, Korea, Russia, France, Spain, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, etc.
Plan the logistics of your travel. Design the dates of the travel, lodging, and attractions.
Research. I am including a page later in this document on research: types of questions to explore and the amount and types of sources I expect.
Compose your paper.

Travel Protocol and Itinerary

You will need to plan your trip. You have a $15,000 budget and unlimited time. You need to plan every detail of the trip. Use whatever resources are appropriate for completing this section of the assignment. Below are some considerations when designing your trip. Think about what you will do each day and how you will do it. Be specific and thorough.

Where will you travel from?
How will you travel?
How will you get around when you get there?
What are the costs?
What country will you be choosing?
What cities are included in your trip?
What dates will you spend in each city?
Where will you be staying?
What are the accommodations like?
What are the costs?
What is the cuisine of your destination?
Where will you dine for each meal?
What will it cost?
What are your options for things to do in your destination?
What will you do each day?
What are the costs?

Research Guidelines and Expectations

First, you need to have questions in mind as you research. What are you looking for? I will provide you with a sample list of questions, but please think for yourself and come up with additional items to explore. Realize that not all of these questions will apply to every topic. Choose the questions that interest you the most, the ones that are the most relevant to your specific topic, and please come up with some research questions of your own.


Most likely, you will NOT include all of the following questions. Choose SOME,.


What beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors does the culture/co-culture possess?
What beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors are different between the two cultures/co-cultures (yours—if your own is different than your topic)?
What are some specific verbal communication differences? For cultures: what ideas/concepts may be very connected to certain values and attitudes and are lost in translation?
What are the specific components of language (see page 138 text), language and perception (see page 141), and communication styles (see page 146)?
What are the specific non-verbal differences? Be sure to explore all of the following categories:
Proxemics differences: What are the differences in space and distance when communicating? What are some unique variables with your particular culture/co-culture?
Kinesics differences: What are unique gestures in your culture? How does your culture view and use eye contact? How does your culture view and use facial expressions?
Haptic differences: How is touch perceived differently?
Chronemic differences: How does your culture perceive time? Are they monochromic or polychromic?
What are differences within paralanguage?
Is the culture individualistic or collectivistic? What impact may a difference have on communication?
When interacting with your culture/co-culture, what advice would you give others? Whether it be for business, travel, study, or personal, be specific in what we should know when communicating with members of that culture/co-culture.
Are the members of the culture/co-culture generally empowered or non-empowered? How has this shaped their identity?
In general, what stereotypes exist about this culture or co-culture? Is there any merit to those stereotypes?
In general, what stereotypes does this culture/co-culture have about others (your own culture/co-culture, specifically)? Is there any merit to those stereotypes?
In what ways will you have to adapt your communication in order to avoid problems with the culture of your destination?
Develop your own questions: What are other important aspects to consider about this culture/co-culture, specifically in terms of perception, understanding, and communication?


When describing verbal and non-verbal differences, re-examine chapters 7 and 8 in your text. Those chapters will help you define the terms listed above and help you come up with more areas of exploration.


Remember: The project is about communication differences! This includes perception and thoughts, so writing about beliefs and customs is appropriate. However, I would not include unnecessary information about the culture—we do not need to know history or geography unless that information is directly relevant to the communication differences.


The general expectation would be a minimum of 7 sources. Include a variety of sources, but at least one of each of the following:

1. A personal interview (search for an expert who knows about your culture or for someone who has traveled or had significant interaction with that culture or of course an actual member of that culture!)

2. A journal article through our library’s electronic resources

3. A news story, if possible, such as a newspaper or online video


You of course can use websites, but try to avoid Wikipedia as the major source. There is nothing wrong with exploring Wikipedia, but when you find useful information, look at Wikipedia’s annotations and explore the original source. Sometimes travel guides can be helpful too for cultures. Explore a bookstore!


When searching the web, use a variety of terms. The list could go on and on! Use variety and you will be surprised at the sources you will find!




You may use APA or MLA style. Use what you are familiar with, but please create a source page to turn in with your paper or speech. If you are doing a speech, e-mail me the source page separately. If you are doing a paper, include the source page at the end of the paper.


I recommend that you use NoodleBib, available through our library’s website. NoodleBib will automatically generate a correct source page after you enter the required information about your source.



Writing the Paper


Here are your guidelines and expectations:


Length: On average, I would expect the paper to be 7-10 pages, using the traditional double spaced, Times New Roman size 12 font, with normal margins.


Introduction: Your introduction should be about a page long. Use your introduction to define intercultural communication in your own words. Establish the importance of understanding intercultural communication. Present the purpose of the paper: to understand the culture/co-culture you selected. End with a thesis statement that states the culture/co-culture and the specific points you will be discussing throughout your paper.


The Body: The body will consist of two sections: first, the itinerary/plans and, second, the analysis of the culture. Look back at each of the suggested questions. For each question you research and explore, include a paragraph or two about that topic. . Each section should have a solid transition from point to point that connects back to the introduction. The body of the paper should be at least 8 pages.


The Conclusion: I would end with your advice as to what we should learn, know, and/or do to prepare for any interactions with your particular culture. I would re-emphasize the importance of intercultural communication. The conclusion should be about a page long.


Citations: Whenever you take information from a source—whenever you are using information that you found from your research—cite the source using APA or MLA format. The minimum number of citations are seven (with at least three different types). But remember: citations simply must occur when appropriate…so you will likely need many more than seven citations.


A couple of notes for writing your paper:

Write the essay in 3rd person. Think of this essay as being a possible journal article. It should be formal and educational. While the trip is yours, write it as if anyone could go on it.
Grammar and mechanics are important! Have someone proofread for grammar.
Your source page should be included at the end of the paper (the source page does not count as one of the pages of the paper for total length).

Use the following rubric as additional guidelines and a final checklist before submitting your assignment.

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