Part II—Culture—General Activities
The term “culture – general” is used to indicate the area of professional study that assists us in
dealing with the dynamics of culture as they appear in all cultures. The purpose of cultural-
general activities is to raise awareness and promote understanding about how individuals from
one culture might experience working, visiting, or living with individuals who come from a dif-
ferent cultural background, and to provide a mental framework and useful tools for continuing
this learning.
While culture-general activities can present information about specific cultures by way of exam-
ples, their focus is about how cultures work, and how we can better manage our interactions by
knowing how and where to look for cultural differences, as well as how to analyze them from a
cultural perspective. Through self-reflection, dialogue, individual and small group work, and
self-study, participants in these culture-general activities gain deeper insight about their own
culture, as well as insight into the cultures of others.
While there are many dimensions to culture-general competence, we have chosen activities that
help us improve in three important areas:
a) Understanding basic cultural dynamics
b) Improving cross-cultural communication
c) Managing differences in how time is experienced by various cultures
Section A. Cultural Dynamics
This set of activities is particularly useful for introducing individuals and groups to how a culture
works—the things that tend to trip us up when we first begin to work in intercultural environ-
ments. The activities are about how we automatically perceive and deal with differences from an
ethnocentric perspective, leading us to fresh awareness of the true nature of these differences.
Finally, they tell us how we can engage one another successfully and use these differences to
mutual advantage.

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