A Reflection on China Through Ethnopoetry

I am a graduate student at Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC, Canada studying International and Intercultural Communication.  I created a blog for the final assignment of two courses: Contemporary Issues in Communication and Supervised Field Study.

In November, 2013 my cohort spent three weeks overseas in China for our second year residency of our Master of Arts in International and Intercultural Communication program.

What you will find throughout these pages is my reflection in the form of ethnographic poetry. What is ethnographic poetry? Simply put, it is a format of sharing research findings through a story, in this case my stories are told in the form of poetry, a form of artistic writing, which I chose because of the focus of my research in China as well as the research for my upcoming thesis research which is arts based inquiry.

Part of the assignment is to post the blog for the purpose of soliciting feedback from viewers so please do leave your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” window at the bottom of each page.

I categorized the poems into four parts: In Search of the Global CitizenArtistic and Intellectual FermentSeeing the Familiar in the Unfamiliar, and Chinese Delights – Happy Surprises. Each poem has a corresponding photograph which you can click on to enlarge. Hit your browsers “back” button to go back to the page you were on after taking a closer look at the photo.

The purpose of “In Search of the Global Citizen” is to reflect on a course question: “What defines a global citizen?” My ethnopoetry shares my thoughts on the topic and identifies people I met during my travels in China who I believe display characteristics of being a global citizen.  See if you agree.

Artistic and Intellectual Ferment” is about “Pillar 5″ in the book “Chinese Megatrends -The 8 Pillars of a New Society” by John & Doris Naisbitt.  The Naibitt’s were invited to write about what was happening in China in recent years and share it with the rest of the world. They divided the ideas into 8 pillars.  For our studies we were asked to choose a pillar and consider it before, during and after our visit to China.  Those of you who know me will not be surprised to learn that I chose the pillar that focused on the arts.  I wasn’t sure I believed the Naisbitt’s interpretation that there was freedom of artistic expression.  Check out the poems to see what I found out.

Seeing the Familiar in the Unfamiliar” is a concept that had an impact on part of the focus of my thesis research.  What I share in my poems are the things that helped me to integrate and acculturate into Chinese society and culture.  Simply put, these are the things that helped me get over my culture shock.  What familiar things have you come across in your travels that have helped with your own experiences of culture shock?

The last section of my blog is titled “Delights in China – Happy Surprises” and is not a formal part of my assignment.  These ethnopoems were added to share a few other delights that brought happiness to me during my travels.

I hope you enjoy your read tough.  Please don’t forget to leave a comment.

Tymmarah (Tymm) Zehr
Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA