intercultural training : what should it include ?

For your final project (to be brought with you and discussed at the oral exam), you will need to prepare a short dossier (as described below in the previous post).

 

Several students have asked how long the dossier needs to be:  the answer is:  as long as you think it needs to be.   Having said that, I would say a minimum of 5 pages… the length you think necessary to give important basic information for a person who will be traveling to live in Fuling, or with the Piraha in the Amazon basin.   You will probably opt to not give information on all of the different topics listed below:  you may not have information on some aspects, and others may not be pertinent.   What you need to try to do is give as complete and detailed info as possible on what you feel are the most important things to know in order to minimize culture-shock and adapt and work successfully.  I suspect that most students will write about ten pages.

In any case:  you can also see this project work as study and preparation for the oral exam:  when you’ve thought carefully about one of the two books and prepared your dossier, you should be well prepared and ready to face the oral exam with confidence !

Here are some examples of the kind of information generally included in cross-cultural training materials.

WHAT CROSS-CULTURAL TRAINING SHOULD INCLUDE:

 BASIC TRAINING:

  • understanding your own culture and how it affects your behaviour
  • comparing home and host cultures
  • defining culture shock and how to live through it

 LOGISTICS:

  • What to take
  • setting up your household
  • the local economy
  • visa and passport requirements
  • residence and work documents
  • legal requirements
  • housing
  • utilities/appliances
  • electric current
  • weights and measurements
  • mail, e-mail, telephone, cables, faxes
  • transportation
  • banking
  • insurance
  • schools
  • currency
  • climate / weather
  • legal holidays
  • servants and services
  • survival needs
  • making friends (for children, too)
  • establishing a routine
  • finding where to buy / obtain what you need
  • entertaining guests
  • leisure activities
  • how family members can support each other
  • maintaining old ties and friendships
  • security and safety
  • special issues for women (safety, hygiene, health care)

IN-DEPTH CULTURE STUDIES:

  • demographics
  • ethnic composition
  • local and national history, geography, politics, economics
  • education system
  • religious / philosophical beliefs
  • inventions and scientific achievements
  • sports and games
  • places of scenic and cultural interest
  • local traditions

LANGUAGE TRAINING

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION

  • This includes gestures and body language

 FAMILY HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS

  • Assessing special health needs
  • Learning where to find doctors, dentists, etc.
  • Know which prescription and nonprescription medicines to take

SOCIAL DO’s and TABOOS

  • This includes business and nonbusiness situations

BUSINESS PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES

CULTURAL MINDSET

  • National character and traits in host country
  • Values
  • Implicit cultural assumptions
  • Thought processes

CURRENT EVENTS AND ISSUES

PROBLEMS EXPATRIATES FACE

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