Cultural Orientation

Culture orientation is about differences. Cultural orientation is for you if you:

a) are going to a different culture for an extended period

b) are curious about or struggle with being around people from a different culture

c) believe that people are not different. Believing this in today's world is either astonishingly naive or politically founded (based on an ideology which for whatever reason does not respect people for who they are, but for who you think they are or should be). However, as it is our job to know about differences among people, we are also aware of this one :-)

People are different - Luckily!

People are different and if there is one thing that should make us happy, that is it. The world would definitely have been different, for better or worse, had we all been the same, but it is not, and there are few if any signs that we are moving in the same direction. So let's deal with it and learn about each other.

Lesson learned whether you finish "Lesson 101 or Lesson 999" is however for most people that we are different and we are more or less going to stay that way. However, we can all become much better at dealing with each other.

Parallell cultures - Different levels

Cultural Orientation is not about changing people from one culture to another, although that may very well be the target of many learners. Should you however wish to change "them" into one of "you" or should you want to be more like "them" then the better your cultural orientation skills are, the higher the chances of success. Our interest is that you get to know them better by understanding both their culture and your own culture better.

It is from the beginning important to start considering the value of the following statements:

While many cultural values stay with us from childhood till death, we are not identical throughout the intervening period. Even a "twin brother" will not share all of our values all the time. But compared to someone from another generally accepted rather different culture, the average person has a rather similar culture throughout life.

Many people have a foot in several cultures at the same time. (This is especially typical for people interested in this topic.)