Culture Clash

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  • Number of participants = 15 – 20
  • Theme = Cultural differences, inclusion, exclusion
  • Duration = 90 minutes
  • Difficult for participants = Level 2
  • Difficulty for facilitator = Level 2

Summary

A simulation to experience and interact with different cultures.

Goals/Learning Objectives

  • To experience and reflect on interactions with different cultures
  • To reflect on their own behaviour in different cultures and within their own culture
  • To reflect on the values of their own culture especially regarding exclusion and inclusion.

Materials

  • Overview of the rules for each culture

Preparation

Print out at least one rule overview for each culture.

Flow of the Exercise

Make two groups; present the rules of their culture to each group.

Give about 15 minutes for each group to practice their culture, separately.

Ask participants to choose someone from their group who will act as an ambassador. This is necessary to prepare for a meeting that will happen soon.

Ask each ambassador to go over to the other group to observe their culture.

When the ambassadors feel they have understood the other culture, they can return and share their observations.

Ask both groups to leave their territory to meet each other in a neutral zone.

Let them interact with each other. There are no rules to follow. Let them interact for at least 20 minutes and see what happens.

Discuss.

Debriefing

  • What happened? What did you do? Did you have any strategies when you interacted with the other culture?
  • What do you think are the rules of the other culture? Were there any rules that you could not observe?
  • How did you feel during the activity?
  • Did you give up something from your culture at any point?
  • Have you had any similar experiences in life?
  • How inclusive or exclusive is your country, for instance regarding migration and diversity?
  • What has inclusion and exclusion to do regarding power dynamics between the Global South and Global North?

Possible Follow up Activities

If you want to continue focusing on cultural clashes and differences where participants will enter a different culture, you should implement the method Barnga, which is a card game simulation. Participants experience the shock of realising that despite many similarities, people of differing cultures perceive things differently or play by different rules. Players learn that they must understand and reconcile these differences if they want to function effectively in a cross-cultural group.

A deeper discussion about exclusion, inequalities and how to overcome them makes for a good drama activity for the method Forum Theatre. Ask two, three or four people to develop a short role-play of an incident. The rest of the group observe. You can stop the role-play at intervals and ask the audience to comment or to make suggestions about how the role-play should continue. Alternatively, members of the audience can intervene directly to take over from the actors and develop alternative outcomes.

Recommendations

Participants often ask about the rules when they meet the other culture. As in real life, there are no rules about how to behave when you visit another culture. Do not give them any rules here either. They should decide how this may affect the rules of their own culture: what they will keep, adapt or give up.

Adapted from Jane Elliott de Jong, M., & Warmelink, H. (2017). Oasistan: An Intercultural Role-Playing Simulation Game to Recognize Cultural Dimensions. Simulation & Gaming, 48(2), 178–198.

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