A culture smart person is sensitive to the
difference between people, respecting them, valuing them and
further utilizing them. The differences between people are
formed because of many reasons, nationality, education,
childhood experiences, socio-economic status, parenting styles,
race, gender... and so on. By being aware of the differences
one can reduce assumptions that are based on people's
behaviors. A culture smart person respects people's differences
and values the good that the difference can do. Being culture
smart is being open-minded and facing everyday life with
Some general ideas of cultural differences
What seems logical, sensible, important, and
reasonable to a person in one culture may seem irrational ,
stupid, and unimportant to an outsider.
Feelings of apprehension, loneliness, lack
of confidence are common when visiting another culture.
When people talk about other cultures, they
tend to describe the differences and not the similarities.
Differences between cultures are generally
seen as threatening and described in negative terms.
Personal observations and reports of other
cultures should be regarded with a great deal of skepticism.
One should make up one's own mind about
another culture and not rely on the reports and experiences
It requires experiences as well as study to
understand the many subtleties of another culture.
Understanding another culture is a
continuous and not a discrete process.
Stereotyping is probably inevitable in the
absence of frequent contact or study.
The feelings which people have for their own
language are often not evident until they encounter another
People often feel their own language is far
superior to another language.
It is probably necessary to know the
language of a culture to understand the culture in any
Click here to
learn about the differences between collectivist and
individualism in culture.
Strategies for Getting "Culture Smart"
about differences: ask questions, double check the
information gained, observe behaviors, read and
for commonalties: uncover and focus on common goals,
look for different "versions" of similar values,
reach out to people who are different from you.