Culture Shock in a Cup

Culture Shock in a Cup

Back in the day when I worked for a study abroad program in China, a dear friend of mine shared a metaphor with me that I feel represents cultural adjustment and culture shock well. He displayed a cup that was filled with water and described how throughout our lives we fill this cup up with our own culture -- our own values, beliefs, and ways of doing things. However, when we travel and integrate into new cultures, we often don’t have enough room in our cups. The key is to recognize this and work on the ability to completely empty our cups when entering a new culture. Let that new culture fill us up so we can learn and absorb. Then, when we travel and enter another new culture, empty once again. Repeat and grow.

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Cross-Cultural Education: The Bridges in Our Stories

Cross-Cultural Education: The Bridges in Our Stories

“Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbor is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.” – Paulo Coelho

The term “cross-cultural education” is quite the umbrella. Applicable, flexible, and vague at most. What does cross-cultural education even mean, for that matter? Or a better question -- why is it so important in this day and age? 

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