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Carrying unnoticed cultural baggage

In this video, the feelings of going across cultures are explained using the metaphor about culture baggage.

Another metaphor is “cultural baggage,” referring to attitudes, patterns, judgments or expectations “packed” in our home cultures that we carry with us. How might these often hidden contents influence cross-cultural encounters?

Early cross-cultural training pioneers like Edward T. Hall and L. Robert Kohls designed specific exercises to help participants examine their so-called cultural baggage. As Hall said,

“Culture hides much more than it reveals, and strangely enough, what it hides, it hides most effectively from its own participants. Years of study have convinced me that the ultimate purpose of the study of culture is not so much the understanding of foreign cultures as much as the light that study sheds on our own.”
(Hall in Bennett, 1998, p. 59, “The Power of Hidden Differences.” In Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication: Selected Readings. Yarmouth, Vermont: Intercultural Press)
In this course we’ll use a few case studies to help expose us to those hidden “subjective culture” dimensions (Triandis, 1972).
In the following weeks, you’ll have opportunities to look at various critical incidents to help you better (re)assess the cultural baggage you might be lugging along. So be ready to (re)evaluate your own assumptions, orientations, or preferences and willing to consider other values, identities, or ways of doing things that might be “not wrong, just different.”
If this segment already has exposed something you now realize you previously over-emphasized or undervalued, you might want to share your personal discoveries with us.
Do keep asking the question, “What’s in my suitcase?”. And also be ready to repack in ways that might help you become more interculturally open.

Survey Reminder

And speaking of what we carry with us, IF YOU did not feel ready to take the course opening Survey earlier, perhaps you might like to consider it now (optional)
To read our explanation of the survey and commitment to maintaining your data privacy, you can go review the notes in Step 1.2 . Because past learners mentioned they found this assessment interesting and helpful at the beginning and end of the course, we invite you to participate (IF you are willing … there are no consequences if you decide not to).
To take part in the study now [click here]

We are grateful to each who takes the 15+ minutes to provide your responses on intercultural learning and impacts of the virus. IF you take it you may have further comments on aspects of the cultures we carry with us. Thanks!

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Intercultural Communication: Dynamics of cultural identities in global interaction

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