international-volunteer-orientation

Module III: Cultural issues

As an international volunteer you will be entering and temporarily living in a culture different from your own. Regardless of previous international travel this process can be difficult. For most of you, this will be your first time working in a different culture and that brings additional challenges that one doesn’t face as a tourist. Additionally, you will most likely be going to a country or village rarely visited by tourists and living in an environment not designed with the comfort of foreign visitors in mind. This too can add to the challenge.

Unlike a missionary or long-term volunteer, your trip will be relatively short. In order to have the greatest impact or be of greatest service, you want to prepare yourself to deal quickly and effectively with the cultural differences you will encounter and the cultural environment you will have to function in. Module III was designed to help you begin that preparation.

Here we hope to give you some knowledge and skills that will help you understand and deal with issues such as culture shock, cultural adjustment, and cultural differences. In addition, however, you will need to draw on personal attributes such as flexibility, openness and sensitivity

Objectives

After completing this module, you will be aware of:

  • Key cultural differences and their impact on interpersonal and workplace communication
  • Basic strategies for working effectively across culture
  • The cultural adjustment process
In this section, you'll be asked to:
  • Read several items of information
  • Reflect on various issues
  • Work on short case studies
  • Respond to several questions
  • Evaluate your learning