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Assignment: The Intersections of Life: Coming of Age

Experiencing the transition from childhood to adulthood, or coming of age, is a human universal. How these rites of passage happen, however, varies widely from culture to culture. The ceremonies announce societal values through carefully preserved, meaningful symbols. Similarly, coming of age rituals convey the responsibilities of the adult individual in a particular community or culture and mark the beginning of the next stage of life.

This Assignment provides an opportunity to research coming of age experiences from several different cultures. You are also encouraged to research additional examples of the transition to adulthood to better understand the values inherent in the rituals and what that means to the culture. Increasing the understanding of cultural values around the globe will better prepare you to successfully communicate with individuals in those cultures.

Photo credit: Microsoft Corporation. (Producer). MP900414104 [Photo of celebrating students in graduation robes]. Retrieved September 12, 2013, from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=graduation&ex=1#ai:MP900414104

Photo credit: Microsoft Corporation. (Producer). MP900442526 [Young girl praying outdoors]. Retrieved January 17, 2014, from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=teens&ex=1#ai:MP900442526

To prepare for your Assignment:

  • Review Chapter 2 of your course text. Consider the forces that create cultural differences. Why are some things valuable in one culture and not in another?
  • Listen to the media examples and review a variety of the coming of age stories in your Learning Resources, and note the similarities and differences in how various cultures mark adulthood.
  • Select one of the media examples or stories that resonated with you.
  • Reflect on your personal experience of transitioning to adulthood.

By Day 7

Submit a 2- to 3-page paper including the following:

  • A brief story of your personal coming of age experience and how culture was transmitted to you.
  • A brief statement of what the experience meant to you.
  • A brief explanation of the experience in the media or story from coming of age stories that resonated with you.
  • A brief description of how the media example or story is a reflection of cultural norms.
  • A brief reflection on how being exposed to the cultural experiences of others helps you increase your intercultural competence.
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