Today, for the cultural self-awareness part of this lesson, we are going to start with a story. In this story, imagine that you are the main character.
A short story
You are going out for dinner alone in Detroit, Michigan, United States, a city you are visiting for the first time.
You sit down at your table and the waitress comes over and offers the soup of the day. You say, “That sounds very good.” She brings you the soup. You laugh.
After you have finished your main course and asked for the bill, the waitress brings it, together with four sweets. You wonder why she is so rude.
You pay and get ready to leave. The waitress gives you a hostile stare. You are convinced she hates you.
Consider this story. Is there anything about it that seems strange to you?
Why does it seem strange?
Can you explain the two people’s behaviour?
How does the behaviour of the two people in this story make you feel?
What emotions do you think the two characters in the story experienced?
Have you been in a cross-cultural situation that made you feel this way? How did you react?
What happened then? Were there longer-term consequences?
What did you learn?
You can think about these questions alone, you can discuss them with others, and you can also email me your responses if you’d like to discuss them with me. If you think you know the answer that explains this story, tell me! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week I’ll reveal the explanation.