Mealtime in Costa Rica

Embracing Difference

This example shows how I embrace differences between others via active listening and positive communication. I respect diverse perspectives and the ways those perspectives influence communication as well as adapt my communication in a different cultural context.

 

Mealtime with Host Family

When I studied abroad, one challenge I experienced was mealtime in their culture. I lived with a host family and found that my host mom served my plate at every meal. I was used to getting food on my own and serving my own plate. My host mom also served me large portions that left me feeling uncomfortably full. Initially I felt frustrated because I couldn’t choose how much rice I wanted and I felt that my independence had lessened, as well as unsure of how to approach my host mom about the amount of food she was giving me. Eventually, I ended up talking to a friend (who was from there) about it and she helped me see that them serving me was actually a gift! They wanted to serve me, to provide for me, and it was important for my host mom to show that she loved me by giving me my plate of food. Once I saw the situation from this perspective, I was able to talk to my host mom about the amount of food and our cultural differences on serving plates. She started asking me how much rice I wanted and even handed me an empty plate from time to time. The best part of the outcome though, was that I learned to receive a full plate with a smile on my face, appreciating and respecting what my host mom did for me, even if it was different than my typical routine.

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My Host Mom & Me, Thanksgiving
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