Blogs for Culture Vultures

How Do I Become More Culturally Aware?

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Before we answer this question, here’s one for you!

How do you know that you are not already culturally aware?

The question assumes you don’t already have cultural awareness!

This may indeed be the case, or not.

You see cultural awareness doesn’t necessarily mean you have some special skill or gift.

It simply means you are aware that differences exist between cultures in how we do things.

That’s pretty much it…at a very basic level anyway.

However, we know many of you readers are wondering how to take this to the next level.

How can you really get to grips with culture?

Well, this blog will give you some great ideas.


Why do You Need to be Culturally Aware?

How you become culturally aware is going to depend on why.

Why are you learning about culture? About differences? What’s the purpose?

Is it for work? Is it so that you can learn how to collaborate with multicultural clients? Or is it because you’re going to travel the world and visit lots of new countries? Or are you a teacher with students from around the world?

There are so many reasons why people need to be culturally aware – so ask yourself, what’s your reason? Once you have identified this, it’s going to make it easier to focus on what you need find or learn about.

No matter what the reason, here’s 5 ways that will certainly help you become more culturally aware.


1. Ask People

Perhaps the simplest way to raise your cultural awareness is to ask people.

If you want to learn more about a country or culture, ask people from there or who have been there.

Working in a multicultural environment often means you have access to people from all over the world – why not take advantage of their knowledge and insight?

Going straight to the source can save you lots of time and get you the critical information you need.

 

2. Do Your Research

There are literally thousands of books and millions of web pages with rich information about cultural awareness.

If it’s general cultural awareness you want then have a look at readings lists, such as this one. They usually list the key sources of information.

If it’s culture specific information you want, such as insights into etiquette and protocol, then there are plenty of free resources online such as this one.

If you’re academically minded, then have a search on JSTOR to find information on specific topics. There are 100s of great papers available.

 

3. Watch some TV

A fun, and slightly more relaxing way, of becoming culturally aware is to watch TV shows!

Most streaming companies today have shows from foreign countries.

So, if you want to learn more about Indian culture, you may start with some Indian TV hits to help you understand the culture.

Watching people’s behaviours, listening to their language and recognising values in their story telling can give us some amazing insights into the culture.

 

4. Take a Course

If you are serious about becoming more culturally aware, then why not take a course?

You can find online courses as well as face-to-face training in topics such as cultural awareness.

These help you understand the basics of cultural differences around topics such as communication.

Here’s a link to a free online / eLearning Cultural Awareness course which is a great place to start.

 

5. Reflect & Think

Becoming culturally aware also depends on understanding your own self.

Self-awareness allows you to see the influence of culture in your own life and preferences.

Once you are able to appreciate how you are shaped, it makes it easier to accept this is the case for everyone else.

Without empathy, there is no cultural awareness.


Learn more about Culture

Have a look at our resources for more information on cultural awareness.

We have free culture guides, a self-study manual on cultural awareness, quizzes and lots more!


Blog image by Oregon Department of Transportation


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