Concepts Re-learned

Today, we end our senior blog series with this fun post from Sarah Hann.  Enjoy her fun stories and creative writing.

In four years of college, I’ve had four different roommates. I’m not a horrible roommate, honest, it just happened to work out that way. This year, roommate #4 is different from the previous three; she is an international transfer student from China. Since this is her first time in America, I’ve been presented with many challenges and also moments of learning about communication. Here are a few things I’ve learned or re-learned about communicating and thought were worth sharing.

  • Sometimes you don’t need words The first Sunday as roommates, we went to breakfast here on campus. My roomie had fruit and was trying to explain that it was sour, but she didn’t know the word ‘sour’. However, sometimes facial expressions take over and I knew the message was, “wow, this is really sour!” This also has been true in other instances where she didn’t know the word, but the fact she was laughing or other facial expressions and body language told me what she was saying.
  • Write it clearly My roommate seems better at reading English, so I leave her a lot of notes, from introducing things I think we should talk about later to saying I will be at a football game most of the night, don’t worry about me. Whenever I leave her a note, I always put it in my best handwriting because I never know how nice or sloppy of English she’s grown used to reading. I figure it’s the least I can do to be nice and make sure my message gets across.
  • Think before you talk With my friends, I can be a sarcastic, quick talking person who uses the occasional crazy vocabulary word (supernumerary, anyone?). With someone who is still learning the language, that’s not the best kind of speaker to be unless you want to explain every other word and repeat yourself often. I do try to throw in appropriate slang or terms Americans use so she gets the sense of what is appropriate and common “American-isms” if you will. But, I think with anyone you should always think before you talk to keep it audience-appropriate and easy to follow among other things.

While I won’t be receiving any international communication credit for this living arrangement, I think so far this experience has taught and re-taught me some of the basic concepts of communication that we tend to overlook when communicating amongst our friends or co-workers. I think these are simple things we should all keep in mind when we communicate with others. Body language is a key part of communication, while good handwriting and thinking before speaking is common courtesy and just plain smart. Sometimes, the communication concepts we should remember to practice are the little ones.

Sarah is a senior studying agricultural communication with a minor in history. She isn’t quite sure what she would like to do after graduation, but ideally the job is located in Ohio or Indiana and she gets along with more than half of her co-workers. 🙂

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