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*The Human Services Internship (Chapter 7)

Wilbert Roberson, Jr. Wilmington University The Human Services Internship: Getting the most from your experience. Developing Cultural Competence What cultural difference have you encountered in your internship? The Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCADV) is a statewide, non-profit organization of domestic violence agencies and individuals working to eliminate domestic. The Member Organizations provide direct services to adult victims of domestic violence and operate shelters for battered women. I found this to be a coalition for women and staffed primarily by women. I was the lone male in an office of 10 women, 10 women who love to snack on cookies and cakes. Through your internship, what insights have you gained about your own culture and social location? Effective multicultural teams develop collaborative approaches to their work, by incorporating and building on different perspectives brought by its members and staff. In multicultural work groups, people accept new ways of thinking, while their prior way of interpreting situations will not be erased. Culture matters; it is necessary to take in to account different cultures as people interact. What insights have you gained into cultures and social locations of the clients with whom you have worked? Cooperating, but not in the sense of being disagreeable but in the sense of doing things together. It was brought to my attention that I should suggest doing things together, even if I would rather do them by myself. It can be determined that a task done cooperatively over an hours time is a pleasure, whereas the same task done alone in thirty minutes is just a chore. What have been your greatest cultural challenges and how have you dealt with them? To further understand that nationality, religion, race, class, language, and gender all contribute to a particular world view that will play a part in everything I say, do or hear. I will further shed light on my own cultural and gender biases to help me to better understand and communicate with others. How do you assess your current level of skill in working with people who are culturally different from you?

It is important to understand and recognize that cultures have different standards that include but are not limited to how fast you should talk, how much time you should talk, how long you should pause between ideas and how long you should wait after someone finishes talking before you say something. Just as every culture has a different size of comfort zone and the unspoken rules about appropriate touching. Working with the DCADV I continue to improve my communication skills in working with people who are culturally different from me. What are your goals as you continue to develop your skills in working with diverse groups? My goal is awareness. Awareness will enable me to read and understand the opposite genders dialect. It will allow me to avoid the sometimes stereotypical reactions when Im in conflict with the opposite gender. And it will help me to make allowances for stereotypical behaviors that I encounter.

References

Kiser, P. (2012). The Human Services Internship: Getting the most from your experience. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.