Broadly defined, culture is the perspective within which individuals operate and how they interpret their environments. In terms of the unit of analysis of these particular ‘environments,’ they may range in scope from the national macro level all the way down to small and intimate team level. The purpose of this travel-embedded course is to explore, compare, and contrast distinct cultures that these student-athletes experience as: 1) members of a collegiate volleyball team, 2) inhabitants of the United States, and 3) visitors in Italy. Using Hofstede’s cross-cultural dimensions, students will critically examine differences among US, Italian, and other major volleyball-playing nations around the world. This will be accompanied by an overview of Italian history and Italian sport club history, and a deeper dive into modern Italian culture during the travel portion of the course. Complementing this perspective of national culture, students will also critically assess the culture and effectiveness of their own team using Katzenbach and Smith’s model of High Performance Teams, and create a plan to further strengthen the team’s culture and effectiveness. As one must first understand the individual before understanding her interpretation of culture, students will also participate in a series of assessments to explore their personal values, identities as athletes and young adults, and cross-cultural awareness. This course includes both theoretical and empirical research readings related to the ‘culture’ content, as well as practical guides as to how to maximize their travel abroad experience in Italy. 


2 sh

Cross Listed Courses



Offered spring.


  • Spring

Previous Course Number

GBL 284


This course does not count in the Core Curriculum nor does it satisfy the ELR requirement.

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