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Critical Reflection Essay

Task Overview:

Introduction: After creating your cultural mind map, you will have built an understanding of the influences our experience, knowledge and behaviour have on our cultural perceptions. This next assessment task helps you to extend your understanding of how this awareness of influences on your culture can help you to be more culturally intelligent.

Task: Write an essay to critically reflect on how and why cultural self-awareness is important to develop cultural intelligence.

Task details:

You should first define the terms ‘cultural self-awareness’ and ‘cultural intelligence’.

Consider their relationship to each other based on the readings from weeks 1-8.

Discuss how and why cultural self-awareness assists people to be more culturally intelligent.

Draw on your experiences to help illustrate key points made in at least four of the set readings from the Unit (weeks 1-8)


To successfully complete Assessment 2, consider what a critical reflection essay is (see power-point presentation link in in the Assessment Tasks Overview table).

Your critical reflection should be an example of academic writing. As a reflective essay, we expect you to write in the first person when you are recounting examples from your experience. Therefore, you will be moving between third person (e.g. this paper showed that…) when you discuss the readings and first person (e.g. I recall that…) when you describe your experiences that illustrate the points being made in the readings.

Your reflection should include:


Your essay should have an introduction that includes the following information:

  • Orientation – background information: putting the assessment task into your own words;
  • A thesis statement/topic: an initial thesis statement introduces and anchors your argument or discussion expresses your viewpoint or stand on the subject;
  • An outline of the structure of your reflection: the different parts or sections of the essay;
  • Scope: This is optional. It may be appropriate to the reflection and   outline the limits of the discussion.

Body paragraphs

  • Your paragraphs must include a topic sentence, supporting sentences (theory and personal examples) and a concluding sentence (see paragraph example on next page).
  • Integrate references into your points wherever possible.
  • You should aim to have 4-6 paragraphs in the body of an essay of this length (not including the introduction or conclusion).


Ensure your conclusion does the following:

  • Restate and qualify your thesis statement from your introduction.
  • Provide a summary of the key points covered in the body of your reflection.


Theoretical ideas you use in this writing will come from outside sources. At least four of the references MUST be set readings from the Unit (Weeks 1-8). Ensure that all sources of information are correctly referenced in the text and in a reference list on a separate page at the end of your critical reflection. If you are unsure of how to reference correctly, see the referencing style guide and sample essay for APA6th available on the Charles Darwin University Library website.

Paragraph Examples:

The following is an example of a paragraph taken from the Kate Russell paper that was covered in Week 2 (Russell, 2011, pp. 31-32). Notice the description (right-hand side) of each section of the paragraph.

  I have come to realize the hyper-sensitivity to my surroundings that I experience is due, in large part, to the defining and redefining of the self I have experienced moving from place to place. According to Fail et al. (2004), an ever-changing environment can alter third culture kids’ perceptions of belonging and identity. While I would, perhaps, like to think that I have a strong sense of self that remains consistent no matter my surrounding, it is simply not the case. I am, as Goffman’s theory of symbolic interactionism posits, a product of social interaction in which, through an internal conversation, I interpret others’ responses to me and respond accordingly. The classic example of this that I have often experienced is the assumption that I am shy. People have often interpreted my initially taciturn nature as shyness and have reacted to me in ways that make me feel like a fragile creature. My quietness is often a result of assessing my new surrounding and, in turn, assigning meaning to the objects that I take in. …….However, now, as I integrate micro-sociological theories into my perspective, and with the benefit of hindsight, I can see how my quiet uncertainty was less of a personality trait and more of a reaction to the need to define the new situation and establish my identity in my new surroundings.   Topic sentence      Theoretical support   Reflection and explanation of how she defines and redefines herself     Example     Re-stating the topic sentence with more information based on the example

Another example based on this topic

  Cultural self-awareness (or the lack of) can be seen when people travel.  For example,I was in my early twenties when I first travelled overseas to Indonesia. Like many young Australians, my first destination was Bali. At the Denpasar airport I overheard many Australian tourists complaining about an issue they considered very serious. “Why don’t they speak English here? You’d think in this day and age, everyone would.” One woman said loudly. Her friends wholeheartedly agreed as they tried to negotiate their way through the airport with signs in Bahasa Indonesia. There was no recognition that they were in a foreign country and shouldn’t just expect everyone to speak English wherever they went. Quappe and Cantatore  (2005) would describe this as people in a ‘parochial stage’, where they think that their way is the only possible way. There was no evidence that they had made any effort to learn enough Bahasa Indonesia to get by in these situations. It seemed that they had no recognition that they should adjust themselves in some way Instead they expected everyone else to fit in with them. In this sense, they didn’t seem to have any cultural awareness or self-awareness and so were completing misreading the context and judging others unfairly because of that.       Topic sentence    Example       Reflection and explanation of how the author saw  the situation   Theoretical support     Re-stating the topic sentence with more information based on the example

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