An Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters

I wrote the following autobiographical text in the Fall of 2012 as a reflective task for the linguistic seminar “Principles of Language Learning and Teaching” taught by Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl.

My parents were coming to the U.S. to visit me, my fiancé and his family for a two-week trip. The two families had met previously, but now they were going to cohabitate and spend quite a bit of time together.  My parents have a very basic knowledge of English and my fiancé’s parents have practically no knowledge of Spanish (except for a few words and expressions). While my fiancé and I could act as interpreters in order to facilitate interactions, I was worried about the cultural aspects of the encounter, not only regarding differences between countries but also differences between families. At the beginning, I felt quite anxious about how the families would handle certain situations. However, I soon realized that it was better to let them be and go with the flow.

Throughout the two weeks there were quite a few misunderstandings, from linguistic to cultural (my parents, in spite of knowing that dinner time is significantly earlier than in Spain, could still not get used to the idea of having dinner so early), yet, as time went by, cultural differences were rendered unimportant, and even the linguistic barrier was dexterously overcome by parental focus and creativity. Thus, they progressively learned what they had in common in spite of having grown up on different continents. Being part of the same generation, they share a lot of the same cultural background (music and movies were definitely a connection: my fiancé’s dad and my dad even had had the same ringtone for their cell phones — the main theme for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). Both fathers had eight siblings growing up, and both mothers went to schools run by catholic organizations, which allowed them to swap “mean nun” stories. They all love food and good wine, and that certainly helped them to share bonding experiences rife with anecdotes and good cheer. They were probably critical of some of each other’s habits or customs, but they were focused on communicating and it was readily apparent that they were thoroughly enjoying each other’s company. The last night, we were having dinner outside on the patio and I went inside to get more water. When I came out again my fiancé’s dad and my dad were singing the song “Drunken Sailor”; my dad did not know the lyrics but he knew the song and was sort of humming the tune. I told my fiancé’s dad that I was amazed at how they were able to communicate, and he said that they were “kindred spirits”. After years of witnessing several cultural misunderstandings and encountering an at times surprising amount of prejudice, this was the first time I truly realized the importance of being willing to understand each other that makes all the difference. This powerful lesson is something that I try to keep present both in my personal and professional life.

21 thoughts on “An Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters

  1. Kelly Brown

    Hello, Tanya! I liked your blog and reading your autobiography of intercultural encounters. I appreciate your openness in sharing such personal reflections. It reminded me of my own college study. I was always seeking for additional support as I could not manage all tasks in time. Therefore I want to share resource that might be useful for the students, and here it is (you can hire writer to complete your paper there). Wishing you all guys to continue success in your intercultural explorations and academic studies.

  2. TeddyBBB

    Navigating through numerous betting platforms, it’s refreshing to discover one that not only provides a vast array of sports events but also ensures top-notch user experience. The interface is user-friendly, and even novices would find it approachable. I’ve had a great time exploring different sporting events, and I believe others would share the sentiment. You can experience this ease of use first-hand by visiting

  3. Balgoritin8

    “Good day. I want to tell you about Pactiv boxes. Link:×5-5×2-5-inch-white-8-folded-paper-take-out-box-130-cs/ . These boxes are made of leak-resistant and grease-resistant cardboard that does not contain PFAS. Food in these boxes always stays fresh, and it’s convenient to take them on the go. Additionally, they have a flap to elegantly close the box from wind and maintain temperature.

  4. Kane Charles

    Having the opportunity to interact with different cultures is a wonderful thing. It helps us understand more about different cultures and people in the world. We can both expand our understanding and interact and make friends. You can absolutely plan a trip to different countries with time calculator.

  5. Markus1

    Of course, writing homework is too time-consuming, and I totally understand you. Especially when every teacher writes a bunch of different tests at the end of the school year. That’s why I can gladly advise you to ask for homework help and pay for essays . There you will find a professional who knows how to solve your problem.

  6. james willim

    The ITIL Foundation (V4) exam serves as an entry-level certification that introduces candidates to the core concepts, terminology, and elements of the ITIL framework. It equips individuals with a fundamental understanding of ITIL 4 principles and practices, enabling them to contribute effectively to organizational success.
    ITIL exam dumps

  7. joseanderson

    Ready to elevate your expertise in Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) certification? Look no further! Dive deep into our comprehensive collection of ACP-520 Questions and Answers. Whether you’re aiming to ace your exam or sharpen your Agile skills, our meticulously crafted resources provide the perfect pathway to success.

  8. Jasmine L.

    Struggling with writing papers for subjects like anthropology, sociology, psychology, or history? We offes customized writing solutions tailored to your needs. We understand the challenges students face and provide expert academic writing help. Whether it’s writing essays, research papers, or assignments, our team is here for you. For reliable online assignment help, choose top assignment writing service in Canada, US, AU, UK!

  9. boveret593

    Looking for a spark of creativity? Look no further! Our writing ideas generator essayshark tools is your one-stop solution for overcoming writer’s block and igniting your imagination. Whether you’re a seasoned writer seeking fresh inspiration or a newcomer looking to dive into the world of storytelling, our tool has something for everyone. With a diverse range of prompts spanning various genres, settings, and characters, you’ll never be short of ideas again. Say goodbye to staring at a blank page and hello to endless possibilities. !


    Online slot games are currently the most popular games in the world, games that are quite easy to play, especially not difficult to reach with just an internet connection. Don’t miss out. For more complete slot information, you can visit the website.

  11. sdf

    The dry cleaning industry offers lucrative opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to enter the franchising world and build successful businesses. With the support of established franchisors, access to proven business models, and a growing demand for garment care services, dry cleaning franchises present a compelling investment option for individuals seeking financial independence and business ownership. By carefully evaluating the benefits, challenges, and key considerations outlined in this guide, prospective franchisees can make informed decisions and embark on a rewarding journey in the thriving world of dry cleaning franchising. franchise cleaners

  12. sdf

    Step into the plush interior of a private car, and you’ll immediately understand why it’s the preferred mode of transportation for discerning travelers. Private car services in Salt Lake City boast a fleet of meticulously maintained vehicles, ranging from sleek sedans to spacious SUVs, ensuring that there’s a perfect option for every occasion and group size. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, you’ll appreciate the luxurious amenities and spacious interiors that provide a comfortable sanctuary amid the hustle and bustle of city life. private car service salt lake city utah

  13. Melissa Dorn

    As a student, I’ve encountered academic challenges that required specialized support. So source has been a lifeline, offering personalized assistance and expert guidance that have helped me overcome obstacles and achieve academic success. Their commitment to quality and students satisfaction has made a positive impact on my educational experience, and I’m grateful for their invaluable contribution to my learning journey.


    Slot games are a type of betting game that is very popular throughout the world. A game that is very easy to reach with a big jackpot but safe and reliable, for more complete slot game information you can visit the website.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *