Cross Cultural Reflective Essay Prompts

Communication is the key to social integration. Communication enables people to share ideas, express their feelings and effectively contribute to discussions and debates. In most cases, language poses a great barrier to communication between different cultures or communities. For effective cross-cultural communication, people have to realise the need for knowledge. Without knowledge, cross-cultural communication is almost impossible. This knowledge involves understanding the potential cross-cultural problems and developing means to overcome them effectively. Also, people should recognise the need for behaviour adjusts in the case of personal efforts failure. One should realise the differences that are brought about by cultural differences and be slow at making conclusions and judgement that are culturally biassed.

Effective cross-cultural communication

Today’s workplace is diversifying to accommodate different geographical regions and span numerous cultures. Therefore, it 's hard to understand how to effectively communicate with individuals who rely on different means to reach a common goal or speak a different language. Although, people maybe from the same geographical location, there are some cultural differences that should be put into consideration for effective communication to be in place. The first step of effective cross-cultural communication recognises that the sender and receiver of the message are from two different cultures or backgrounds.

Having knowledge on cultural diversity is the key to cross-cultural communication. Learning how to better communicate with people whose first language does not match with ours does not necessarily mean studying their language and culture. However, it is important to learn the basic about other people culture is paramount. The basics about culture help one engage effectively in greetings and physical contact that is the first step of forming an effective communication. Although most companies offer cultural training across different cultures, it is important for people to increase their understanding and knowledge about these cultures. This entails recognising that some individual reactions and behaviours are culturally driven and they may seem inappropriate to you but to them they are culturally appropriate.

Importance of effective cross-cultural communication

In today’s global marketplace, the ability to communicate multi-culturally and effectively is very crucial. For active business production relationship, sensitivity to the potential issues of cross-cultural communication is paramount. To establish a common ground between enterprises or people, the first step is to set up a communication field. Establishing a common ground helps in creating productive dialogue between the two parties that will enhance the relationship between the two sides. While establishing a common ground, the two sides have to recognise the cultural differences and different cultural expectations.

Reflection in Global Health Essay Contest

What?An opportunity to submit an essay about your reflections in global health education and practice.  This is the fifth annual CUGH Reflection Essay Contest that is co-sponsored by CUGH, Child Family Health International, University of Pittsburg Center for Global Health and Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division.

Who? Trainees from undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels and GH faculty/practitioners are eligible to submit an essay to the contest.  We strongly encourage essay submission by trainees and global health practitioners/educators from low-middle income countries.

When? Submissions are due by midnight EST on November 20, 2017 (extended from Nov. 12)。 Decisions on winners and runner-ups will be announced on
December 20, 2017. A select group of winners will be invited to read their essays at the 2018 CUGH Annual Conference in New York, NY.  

Where?Submissions should be emailed to cughessay@cfhi.org. Winners will be invited to attend and read their essays at the CUGH 2018 Annual Conference in New York, NY. However, attending the conference is not required to participate in the Essay Contest.  Additional essays will be invited to submit for publication in the publication “Reflection and Global Health: An Anthology.”

How? Email essay submission with the structure and information in the instructions below to cughessay@cfhi.org. To learn more about how to write a reflective essay, additional resources can be found here.

Reflection is a powerful tool in global health education and practice. All current undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate trainees as well as GH practitioners are invited to submit essays to reflect upon the meaning and lessons learned from global health experiences. These may be in a research, educational, clinical, or service capacity. The impacts of these experiences on professional development and personal growth are revealed in new partnerships, insights into cross-cultural or ethical issues and ideas for change.  

Click here for an example of writing prompts.

Click here to see essays previously selected for the Reflection in Global Health Anthology.

Requirements for Essays

  • The essay must be written while the applicant fits into one of the three contest categories described below, must be the work of a single author, and must represent original work. Essays must not have been previously published in print or electronic format.
  • Entries must be in English, at least 11 point font, doubled-spaced, and must not exceed 1,000 words.
  • Essay should be written in Microsoft or OpenOffice document.
  • Do not put your name or any other identifying information on the document. Mention of any other individuals in the document should conform to anonymity standards to ensure privacy.
  • Include the title of your essay on all pages of your word document submission
  • Only ONE submission per person.
  • Essays not meeting all requirements will be disqualified from the contest.​

Judging Criteria


Submissions will be judged in three separate categories:

  • trainees (post secondary to post graduate levels,
  • practitioner/faculty, and
  • trainees for whom English is not the primary language.  

Each essay is reviewed by two judges and scored on four criteria— originality/theme, composition, critical reflection, and impact. A third judge is asked to review the essay if there is a significant difference in the scores by the two judges. Authors will be anonymous to the judges. The finalists will be selected by members of CUGH's Essay and Education Committees. Essay finalists will be notified by January 15, 2018.

Prizes

Monetary prizes of $500 and a waiver of the CUGH 2018 conference registration fee will be awarded to the three winners.  A number of honorable mention essays will be selected for a special reading and recognition session at the conference.  

How to submit

Send an email (including the below information) with your essay as an attachment to cughessay@cfhi.org
Please include the following information in the body of your email: 

  • First Name then Last Name
  • Title of Essay
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address (reachable even after graduation)
  • School/Sponsoring Institution/Training Program where enrolled or affiliated
  • Degree Program (if applicable)
  • Indicate category of submission (IMPORTANT!)

                   a. Trainees (undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate levels).  Anticipated year of graduation

                   b. Practitioner/faculty.  Please indicate years in practice and area of expertise

                   c. Trainees from low-middle income countries where English is not the official language 

More information: Contact: buithuy@pitt.edu or jevert@fcm.ucsf.edu

This contest is co-sponsored by Consortium for Universities in Global Health, Child Family Health International, Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division, and the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Global Health.

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