OES Culture Shock 2017

By Peter Bloch

Next Friday, OES will be hosting 65 students from several schools all around the Portland-Metro area for Culture Shock.

Culture Shock is a day dedicated to celebrating the many diverse backgrounds that help make us OES. Both students and faculty will be presenting on topics such as sexuality, race and gender so that we can learn how to become better, more supportive peers through intercultural competency and understanding. As a basis for promoting healthy and productive discussions, the Intercultural Student Association (ISA), the ones who are planning Culture Shock has established the following norms for all participants involved:

  1. Speak from the “I” perspective
  2. Respect:
    1. The speaker
    2. The space – some people people need this space to help understand circumstances in their life and in the world. It is important that Culture Shock supports this kind of discovery
    3. Your fellow students
  3. Take risks and step out of your comfort zone!
  4. Confront the idea, not the person
  5. Expect good intentions
  6. Be prepared mentally and emotionally
  7. Confidentiality – what is said in the room, stays in the room
  8. Avoid making assumptions based on a person or a group of people

*For a more graphically-pleasing and concise depiction of these rules, please watch the video produced by Jake C. ‘17 that will be shown on the morning of Culture Shock in the Great Hall.

While Culture Shock always promises to be a day of fun, I have personally found some past transitions to be abnormally long or short, making them awkward at times. However, the vibe I got from ISA was totally different from the moment I walked in. “It’s gonna be much more streamlined,” commented Selin B. ‘18. “We’ve spent a lot of time fixing problems we’ve had in the past. Now we’ve taken the time to actually build in the affinity groups to our schedules. We also have more guests and two main speakers instead of just one.”

OES freshmen, who have never attended before, are really in for a “culture shock” (pun intended). ISA member Garrett V. ‘20 stated, “I haven’t attended a Culture Shock yet, but I think it will be really fun to hear a bunch of different perspectives on many different topics.” He continued by expressing his interest on one of the newest workshops: “I’m interested in attending ‘Why men should be feminists.’ There’s a lot of controversy around the feminist movement at this time, and I’m interested to hear what that’s all about.”

Selin B., who will be leading “Why men should be feminists,” weighed in, saying that she hopes “to make the workshop a lively discussion where no one feels attacked, so that we can make it a learning experience. We’re trying to make it an active and engaging workshop where people can explore their privileges and intersectional feminism.”

Next Friday, I look forward to Culture Shock, but most of all, I look forward to a day of learning without the stress of my normal classes, which will allow me to delve deeper into learning about myself.

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