What do career competencies mean to you? I honestly didn’t have a valid answer myself when I was asked three weeks ago for an in-class pre-departure assignment. Our professors elaborated on the components of career competency just enough to familiarize us with the terminology in our syllabus. I always thought I had decent communication skills because I could talk to the stranger next to me in class, and could pitch a presentation to a room full of people I didn’t know. I also thought teamwork was as simple as being apart of a group working towards a consensus, but Namibia has defined a whole new perspective of teamwork for me.
Back in the United States, technology keeps us from having to work with each other organically. In Namibia, they don’t have the quantity of technology that we do which makes it necessary that they work together face to face, person to person. If we have group work back at home, we generally use electronic communication as much as possible before we have to meet in person. On the contrary, here in Namibia, almost every task is done with two or more people. Teamwork and communication are obviously more engrained in the Namibian culture than American culture.
Coming to Namibia we didn’t have as much access to wifi and cell phone reception which caused to us communicate with each other personally. We have all these projects and assignments where we talk to each other every day and have multiple reflections, and talk about topics in an open form type setting. All the interaction and discussion these assignments require heightens our own skills of communication and teamwork as we learn more about Namibia and each other. The experiences we have shared together abroad in Namibia have shown us how valuable communication between people can be, and how imperative teamwork is to the learning environment. I’ve realized on this trip that cell phones shouldn’t be relied on so heavily for communication, but at the same time I have accepted it to be part of the American culture.