Look and Listen
Preparing for cultural differences
We all have our own expectations for how people should behave in public. Often, we aren’t even aware of these expectations until we see someone behave differently. When this happens, our natural reaction is to think the other person’s behavior is wrong and ours’ is right. That’s not really the case.
How to practice observing cultural differences
When traveling to another culture, people will behave differently. It is important to be as prepared for these differences as possible. One way to do this is to “practice” while you’re still in a familiar area. A great exercise for the team is to go to a public place (restaurant, mall, etc) and people watch. Pay attention to how people dress, how they interact with others, and how they communicate. Make sure to do this in a respectful way, without being creepy or making fun of others. Make your observations and then come together as a group to discuss them.
People everywhere have different standards and expectations for how to behave.
Being aware of our own expectations and realizing the expectations of others helps us to build relationships and foster a sense of community with people from different backgrounds.
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