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At one time or another, we’ve all exclaimed: “What a small world!” when faced with some uncanny happenstance or meeting—situations or coincidences that appear foreign but feel strangely familiar. And while there is much in the world that has brought us together and encouraged universal interdependence and celebration, there are cultural differences that have kept and continued to keep us apart, distant, even divided.
In this interactive course, you will learn how to uncover aspects of your own culture in order to distinguish how your unique values shape your perception of the world. Whether you are a world traveler, a professional who works with people around the globe, or a prospective host to international visitors, you’ll quickly come to see how identifying relevant cultural differences can make it easier to create positive connections with people who come from cultural backgrounds different from your own.
As we look at how cultural factors influence our personal worldviews, we’ll ask: What is culture? What are the underlying things that make up a culture? Why do people operate differently and how?
Throughout, you will develop your communication skills, boost your Intercultural competency, gain greater self-awareness, and feel a deeper appreciation for the significance that understanding cultural values plays in fostering positive interactions, establishing relationships, and building meaningful bridges between people.
It’s a small world, after all.
The workbook, Cultural Detective Self Discovery, will be distributed in class.
Thorunn Bjarnadottir, MA, University of Minnesota, is the Director of Intercultural Education for the University’s International Student and Scholar Services, where she readies students to work in a more interconnected global environment. An experienced trainer with more than 20 years’ experience in higher education, she has worked with people throughout the world to develop their cultural competency skills. Bjarnadottir’s passion is to create leadership development processes that help people from different cultures work well together. A native of Iceland, she speaks four languages and has lived and worked in Iceland, Switzerland, and the United States.
Offered in cooperation with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.