Culture Shock Story a project by Meri Collazos

Culture Shock Story

“Why Am I Doing This?”

MA in Intercultural Communication

So…What is Intercultural Communication?
In 2009, I received a Fulbright Grant to do a MA in Intercultural Communication at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. At first, I was not sure if spending two years in the US earning an MA in INCC would be worth it. I had been working as a filmmaker since I got graduated in Audiovisual Communication in 2001, and I was currently developing interesting media projects in Barcelona, Spain. I just had applied to pursue studies in New Media and Communication in top American universities but the fees to cover the rest of the tuition could had been too much for my budget. In the beginning, applying to a MA in Intercultural Communication in UMBC was an alternative option with a tuition remission ensured in exchange for my part time job in the University. By this time, everybody in Europe was talking about “diversity”, “multiculturalism”, “intercultural” … I had been traveling to different countries and met friends from lots of places. In the end, I guess the “interculturality” issue was appealing enough for me not to say NO to a two year Fulbright Scholarship. To me those up and coming words seemed to be “blowing in the wind of changes,” a time where globalization and interconnectedness were the truest evidence. As a media producer I was eager to immerse myself in those changes and learn how to deal as effectively as possible with the complex intercultural dynamics of globalization. What possibilities could bring them to the new media ? What type of media would be better to address new relations to power and cultural diversity? Why is America that BIG?
The MA in Intercultural Communication in UMBC is settled in the Modern Languages Department and has an interdisciplinary focus. The aim is to develop foreign language and intercultural skills and provide a theoretical grounding. Students take four core courses and then choose to follow one of the specializations. I took intercultural film-making. During the MA I could also work as a research assistant in the New Media Department. is a summary of my research work in the Master in Intercultural Communication. Every one who participates in this project is also a result of this two year experience. As in the movie featured in the site, I feel I´ve been more like moving between “friends” than “cultures.” For that, I have tend to recognize more similarities than differences. Even if it came so natural and friendly, I can say that getting to know all these people was a BIG part of my intercultural skills enhancement.

Yep… I can now say again that because sometimes we are all different, we are all alike.

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About Culture Shock:

"Culture shock is the difficulty people have adjusting to a new culture that differs markedly from their own." (

"Many of us are striving to produce a blend of all the cultures which seem today to be in clash with one another. No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive". -Mahatma Gandi

"Culture is a mold in which we are all cast and it controls our daily lives in many in suspected ways...Culture hides more than it reveals, and strangely enough, what it hides, it hides most effectively from it's own participants" -Edward T. Hall

"America is a poem in our eyes" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow"-Lin Yutang