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What Should be Covered in a Cultural Training Course?


'Cultural Training’ course content should include everything necessary to help people new to a country, understand and navigate the local culture.

This understanding gives learners an advantage when working in or with a foreign country by equipping them with shortcuts on how to work effectively.

However, it's important that course content meets the needs of the learners. This means that cultural training courses are not all the same.

A cultural training course delivered to a school might be very different to the type of course delivered to a team of business managers. 

In this blog, we’re going to explore the most important topics to include in a Cultural Training course so that if you’re responsible for sourcing a course, you know what to consider.

So, first we’re going to look at some essential topics of any Cultural Training course before giving you some real-life examples.

Did you know we specialize in Cultural Training?

As experts in the field, we like to share!
So at the end of this article you'll find some great links to free resources.

Essential Topics of a Cultural Training Course

Any course, whether about culture or not, needs to be suitable for the audience.

Cultural Training is no different in that it has to be tailored to the needs of the learners; therefore, what is ‘essential’ can vary dramatically.

The most important subjects to cover in the Cultural Training course include:

  1. Self-Awareness: It's important to first emphasise the role of the Cultural Lens and our unique worldview.
  2. Bias and Stereotypes: Next, we should understand the influence of bias and stereotypes. 
  3. Culture: The training course should then move on to what culture is and what it does. 
  4. Values: Next, critical to understanding culture is the role of cultural values and their role in culture clash.
  5. Communication: Differences in communication style is essential to helping learners communicate effectively.
  6. Doing Business: Finally, the course should look at different approaches to business practices, such as meetings, management, teamwork, deadlines, collaboration, negotiations and anything else relevant to the learners.

There may of course be other topics that learners might need to be included in a Cultural Training course. However, these offer a great starting point.

Let’s now look at some examples of topics covered in a few of our free online cultural awareness training courses.

What’s Covered in a Cultural Awareness Course?

Our eLearning course on Cultural Awareness has been designed for professionals working in any sort of culturally diverse environment.

It’s therefore quite generic and offers a great overview of what’s covered in such a course.

  • Culture: Answering the question, “What is culture?” Exploring the influence and layers of culture
  • Self Awareness: Understanding the Cultural Lens and the role of Self-awareness, Stereotypes and Cognitive bias
  • Cultural Values: Introduction to values and their impact on behaviours and preferences
  • Time: Structured and flexible approaches to time across cultures plus real-life examples and challenges
  • Communication: Indirect and direct approaches to communication across cultures plus real-life examples and challenges
  • Teamwork: Individualism and group approach across cultures plus real-life examples and challenges
  • Dealing with Conflict: Understanding origins of conflict and how to use the three-step approach to reconciliation


You can watch a sample of the course video for free below or go over to the course page for more details.

What’s Covered in a Middle East Cultural Training Course?

Within Cultural Training there are many types of training. Some are focused on generic skills such as the Cultural Awareness course above, whereas others are country or region-specific.

To give you an idea of what’s covered in a regional Cultural Training course, let’s look at the topics in our Middle East eLearning course.

  • Cultural Understanding: Uncovering what cultural awareness means, exploring self-awareness and stereotypes.
  • The Middle East: Learning about the history of the region, the religion of Islam and identity in the region.
  • Understanding the People: Learning about some of the key values in the region such as honour and shame as well as the role of hospitality and spirituality.
  • Doing Business in the Middle East: Understanding core Arab values in business and their impact on the local way of doing things.
  • The Communication Style: Exploring the Arab approach to communication, how they show politeness, give opinions and manage disagreements.
  • Etiquette: Appreciating common taboos and etiquette to ensure foreigners present themselves positively when in the region.


You can watch a sample of the course video for free below or go over to the course page for more information.

What’s Covered in a Japan Cultural Training Course?

So, you’ve now seen what’s in a Cultural Awareness course and a course on Arab culture, which means we just need to look at an example of a country-specific course.

Below is an outline of the subjects covered in our Japan cultural training course.

  • Cultural Understanding: The role of Cultural awareness, The Cultural Lens and working with cultural generalisations
  • Japan in Context: Overview of the Geography, Historical context, Language, Beliefs and religion
  • Understanding the People: Core Japanese values - Ganbaru, Gaman & Konjou, Shoganai, Mottainai, Wa, Honne to Tatemae, Uchi/Soto
  • Japanese Business Culture: Business values, Meetings, Decision making, Relationship building, Negotiation style, Giving Presentations, Working remotely and virtual communication
  • Japanese Communication: High context communication, Dealing with conflict, Reading body language
  • Making a Good Impression: What to wear, Addressing people, Bowing, Gift giving, Food and dining, Public behaviour


You can watch a sample of the course video for free below or go over to the course page to learn more.

Cultural Training Resources

We hope you found this information useful.

Below we’ve included some links you may also find useful in designing a cultural training course.

 Blog image by Christina Morillo from Pexels


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