On June 11 I’ll be giving my first public talk about my Semester at Sea–the experiences I had traveling with 550 students around the world, visiting 11 countries, most of which are not touristy in the way Americans, especially me, expect. Things like heat (in China), toilet paper (everywhere) and marked prices (everywhere) are largely absent.
And what that does to you.
I took a CCAI assessment – Cross-Cultural Adaptability Inventory a few weeks into the voyage, given by a professor whose area of expertise was intercultural awareness and competence. I got the equivalent of a C-, even though the grading isn’t letter-based. I thought I was an open and accepting person, but clearly the evidence was contrary. Here are a few of the questions where I scored particularly low:
- I could live anywhere and enjoy life.
- I have a realistic perception of how others see me.
- Impressing people different from me is more important than being myself with them.
The responses to these questions go from Definitely True to Definitely Not True with 4 gradations in between those extremes. How would you score?
Grappling with these impacted my journey considerably. I want to be adaptable and flexible in life. Here was the opportunity to do things differently. After all, I didn’t know anyone on the ship and I didn’t know anyone in the countries we were visiting. What did I have to lose?
So, I tried some new behaviors. That’s what I’m going to talk about. What I’ll reveal is that they changed my life significantly and for the better.
If you’re curious and want to hear more, just want to say hello after a long time and/or especially if you want to meet and mingle with some great women, come to Greenwich on Wednesday, June 11.
Or wait for the book.