Comments from Culture Values and Distance Course - February 2018
This has been so helpful - the best thing has being helped to be a better observer of people and interactions, and growing in understanding of what's below the iceberg. I think it will help me understand people better; it's shown me some real points of ignorance, and I hope that under God, I can communicate better with people who hold different values and basic assumptions. I will be doing more listening and observing to understand people, and talk to a few friends from other cultures to deepen my learning.
The course has been great in making what was intuitive more overt and explicit. It also means that I now have a common vocab with other cross-cultural workers that we can use as we share and explore more about what is happening in ministry in general and particular complex situations.
Very helpful course!
I've really appreciated this course. It's given me a bigger set of categories to think about and describe cultural differences. And it's helped me clarify some cultural differences that I would previously have struggled to describe. I loved the case studies. They bring the theory together, and ground it in reality in a way that shows that the theory can sound simple at first, but in practice is rich and complex! And they highlight the way that cross-cultural ethical dilemmas are really tricky!
Some of this stuff I knew in theory before, and at one level it's another refresh on the theory again. But on another level I'm pondering over probably mistakes I've made in the past and not been aware of, and seeing ways this stuff affects leading the FOCUS ministry. I appreciate some of the worked examples / case studies that help this. And the discussions have been helpful to this end too. There are so many ways in which my Western culture background has trained me and encourages me to put relational aspects to the side. I knew this in part, but I can see a bit more now the attention I need to give in terms of indirect communication style, using time, group identity, obligations to the group, and power distance. Particularly so within the leadership team. One standout example is that from the case study: rather than developing my plan on my schedule, work at developing the plan with the team so it's theirs. And yet I need to keep remembering to do this with all the layers of other cultural aspects mentioned above.