Culture Shock

Part One (10 min)

To conduct this activity you will need:
At least 10 players in a room with a good amount of space to move around in. If you are playing in a classroom you may wish to move the desks to the side of the room to give adequate playing area.

A whiteboard/smartboard to write on.

The instruction sheets on Culture A and Culture B to give the players.

Divide into two groups. Explain to the groups that they are going to be given directions for becoming a cultural group and that whatever happens, they should behave the way people from their culture behave.

Give each group a copy of the directions for their group (shown on the right. Printable version here) and tell them to take just a couple of minutes to come up with answers to the three questions on the sheet:
1. What is the name of your cultural group?
2. What do the people of your cultural group do for jobs?
3. What do your people eat?

Tell them that three people from each group to become the “travelers” who will go explore the other culture. The rest will stay in their home culture and meet the visiting travelers from the other culture.

Give the groups a few minutes to practice behaving the way their culture group does (it works best if the two groups are not in the same room so no one can see the opposite group practicing. Keeping a group in the classroom and sending the other to another room/hallway is ideal).
The people of your culture value time and efficiency. When interacting with others, you believe that it is polite give your undivided attention to them, to get to the point quickly, and to take up as little of their time as possible. Likewise, you appreciate it when others are considerate of your time as well. The people of your culture talk, walk and move fast. They speak in loud voices and stand close when speaking. They stare straight into your eyes when talking and listening. When asking questions, they like to get their answers quickly and after they get their answers they leave quickly. When being asked a question by others, they only answer one question and then turn to leave. They do not let others touch them.

The first one to get all the answers and return to their home culture is considered the winner because they got their job done the fastest. The one who takes the longest to get their questions answered is considered the loser.

CULTURE BThe people of this culture value relationships. When communicating, they believe that in order for the other person to feel comfortable and trust them they must take time to build relationships. Likewise, they don’t place much trust in those who don’t spend time with them. The people of this culture move very slowly. They don’t look at the person they are speaking to as they believe that it may make them feel rushed. They speak in low voices, and before answering a question they must find out three conditions about the person asking: their health, their family and whether they have eaten yet. After they find out these things they will answer any question. Likewise, they must get the answers to these three conditions before they can ask a question. They do not let others get close to them until after they have discussed these three conditions, at which time they will hug the person they are talking to.

The last one to get all the answers and return to their home culture is considered the winner because they have likely developed the most successful relationship. The one who spends the least amount of time interacting with the other culture is considered the loser.