Note: Much of what you find on this page will directly relate to your reading of Cross-Cultural Connections.
“We have been created in the image of God, and it is God-likeness we share…Thinking that people are all like me can only lead to disillusionment. Am I the center of the universe?” Gladis DePree
Below is a two minute video from the film Mr Baseball which gives a great example of why cultural awareness and asking questions is so important.
● Be aware of your own culture’s biases and practices and how those may be perceived by others
● Be able to explain cultural differences such as those described in Elmer’s book, as well as potential conflicts that these differences may create
● Familiarise yourself with the cultures of potential teammates or coworkers
● Recognise the symptoms of culture shock and some ways to positively deal with it
Most missionaries go to Africa expecting that the culture of the people they are there to serve will be quite different from their own. However, many are not prepared for the cultural differences they encounter within their own team. In order to help AIM members better understand one another, profiles of the cultures that make up AIM have been included below. As you read them keep in mind that these are only generalisations which don’t take into account personality or (in most cases) the Christian worldview.
To read profiles for various cultures within AIM, click here.
SOME QUESTIONS TO THINK THROUGH AND DISCUSS WITH YOUR FACILITATOR:
1. How would you describe your own culture (positive and negative)? How might someone from another culture perceive some of the things you have listed? You may find the above profiles insightful.
2. In reference to the above video, what are some things that would be considered offensive or rude in your own culture? What are some things in your culture that others may find offensive?
3. From your reading of Cross-Cultural Connections, what are some of the cultural differences that you have picked up on that could potentially create conflict between you and someone from another culture? Between two teammates of different cultures?
4. Which cultural differences do you think might be the most difficult for you? Why?
In addition to the cultural differences that you will likely encounter with teammates or other workers, culture shock can also play a role in creating stressful situations. Knowing this, it’s good to be prepared, being aware of the symptoms and having in mind some tools to help you or someone else deal with it.
The following short video gives a taste of the culture shock that some Sudanese young men faced when moving to America. (You will also get a bit of insight into African culture).
HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS WITH YOUR FACILITATOR:
1. What are some of the signs that someone may be experiencing culture shock? Did you notice anything in the National Geographic video that indicated they were experiencing culture shock?
2. Have you ever experienced culture shock or known someone who did? From your experience, what did it look like?
3. What are some methods for dealing with culture shock? What kinds of things might help these young men to move through the culture shock and begin to adjust?