By Adelina Badea, Career Advancement Program Ambassador Scholar

Each time I travel in a new country I try to discover and understand the culture of that country. By traveling abroad I started to learn the correct ways of behavior and the manners necessary in order to successfully communicate with other people from different countries. Is it better to give a handshake, a kiss, or a hug? By having cultural experiences I now understand better that each country has a different cultural background.

I am an intern at Canyon Ranch Resort and each month all the interns have the opportunity to participate in a cultural outing. Since arriving 4 months ago, I have participated in different kinds of outings. I’ve been to the Trampoline Park, Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, on a hike on Mount Lemmon, and to the PIMA Air & Space Museum and Desert Museum.

I had a lot of fun at the Trampoline Park. Being my first outing, it helped me to get to know the interns better. We all jumped on those huge trampolines and we felt like we were little children again.

On our second outing, to Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, we visited The Mineral Museum which is dedicated to providing education on the preservation of minerals and meteorites. The collection is global, but with specific emphasis on minerals from Arizona and Mexico. I have never seen such beautiful and colorful gemstones in my whole life!

When we had our hike on Mount Lemmon we had a lot of fun again but the most interesting part for me was to see how the climate and fauna change with the elevation. Mount Lemmon is a famous “sky land”, at the lower reaches is a desert environment with cacti, lizards and snakes and at the top in Summerhaven is  a pine forest home to black bears and deer.

PIMA Air & Space Museum is one of the largest aerospace museums with more than 300 different kinds of airplanes (civil, military, commercial and private). It was exciting to see an SR-71 Blackbird and an A-10 Warthog so close. Okay, I have to admit that the boys felt like they were in a candy shop, but I still enjoyed this outing because I learned so many new things about airplanes.

Recently we were at the Desert Museum and up until now it has been my favorite outing. I learned so many things about the desert life and about fauna. I learned about the Saguaro cactus that grows only in the Sonoran Desert and  I attended a live animal presentation called Raptor Free Flight which is a dynamic bird of prey flight demonstration that occurs in the open desert showcasing natural behaviors of native birds.

I also learned about snakes and I fell in love with those super cute and little hummingbirds.

With an exception to these outings with the interns, I tried to experience the American culture on my own. I went to a concert in Phoenix (The Arctic Monkeys), I dressed up for Halloween, and I was at the All Souls Procession Ceremony. The All Souls Procession Ceremony was definitely something new for me. The Procession is a sanctuary for community members from all walks of life to express their grief and loss in a celebration of creative energy and a rejoicing of living. This has to be one of the best public events I have ever attended. Great feelings and emotions were present.  The creations were amazing, and there was  great energy, music, lighting, costumes, and make up. The show at the end was the cherry on top of the sundae. It was a communal ritual of pyrotechnics, acrobats, drumming and more than 100 performers. The day ended with the ceremonial urn burn.

I am so happy I was part of these cultural experiences because I learned so many new things. I would like to thank Sally Paul, our manager from Canyon Ranch, who organized these outings and to Kylie because she told me about the All Souls Procession Event.