Cross Cultural Discussion Program

The Cross Cultural Discussion program seeks to foster intercultural understanding and relationships, through discussion of cross cultural topics of East vs West.  Recent programs:

Communication Patterns: Direct/Indirect, Formal/Informal.

We will discuss your personal experiences in cross-cultural communication. What did you notice when you could or could not speak a foreign language? What were your assumptions, expectations and realizations as you became more adept in the new language and culture? There are many global and personal benefits of effective communication around the world. What are yours?

Age and Authority: East vs West.

We will explore “Age and Authority” in Asian and Western cultures, with a discussion from a historic perspective as well as contemporary practices. Why do people in Asia tend to respect Age and Authority, such as elders, teachers, bosses?   In the West, is there a tendency to show respect to those with power, such as the police, the bullies, airport security?  Is the boss a fierce god, or part of the team?  How do Asian languages reflect this?  We will share the differences in attitudes and practices toward Age and Authority in the East vs the West.

Cultural Transitions – Taking Care of Yourself: Moving from ‘native’ to ‘foreign’ and re-entry from ‘foreign’ to ‘native’. 

Each of us is a member of one social world but has lived or worked in another. Join what will be a stimulating discussion to share your personal experiences during cultural transitions. What did you do when you discovered that your behavior and expectations were not acceptable to the foreign culture? Did you 1) continue to behave the same way you did at “home,” 2) stay detached and removed from the new cultural system, 3) adapt to the expectations of a different social system even when it meant giving up or suspending your previous attitudes and values? What is adequate preparation for cultural transitions as we move with increasing frequency among temporary social systems?

Family and Marriage Patterns in Asia vs the West.

We will explore Marriage and Family in Asian and Western cultures, with a discussion from a historic viewpoint as well as contemporary practices. How has economic development impacted Marriage and Family in Asia?  Why have women’s rights regressed in China in the last 3 decades?  What cultural and other factors have contributed to Japan’s gender imbalance in the work force?  Why are South Korean men mail-ordering brides?  We will share the differences in attitudes and practices toward Marriage and Family in different Asian and Western countries and cultures.