Multicultural Counseling and Social Justice Competencies
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Cultural Immersion

The Cultural Immersion exercise is designed with at least three objectives in mind. First, this gives you the opportunity to learn about a culture that is different from your own by becoming involved. Second, this gives you the opportunity to empathize with those who are often “the only ___”. You may have this experience regularly as a member of a minority cultural identity, or this may be new for you. Your own context, as well as your attitudes and beliefs influence your experience. The third objective is to provide you with the opportunity to reflect on, and become aware of, attitudes and beliefs that you may have about a group that is different from yourself. Some examples of immersion experiences are: to participate with a Thai Buddhist Temple (for a person who is neither Thai or Buddhist), volunteer in a community that is different from your own or enroll in a language immersion program.

  1. For the immersion experience, you will need to first identify the aspect of identity (e.g., ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.) that you would like to become immersed in.
  2. You will want to identify a group with whom you can participate on a weekly basis. It is best to find something that requires you to participate as a person with very little power (not as a professional) because the power differential can help to make the immersion experience more potent.
  3. Keep a weekly journal of your experiences, thoughts, realizations, and feelings.
  4. Complete Progress Notes of the experience.

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©Rebecca L. Toporek (2008)