• In what ways is your personal style less compatible?
In terms of incompatible aspects, I find the lifestyle of some of my peers too liberal. I for one do not consume alcoholic drinks, and hence do not visit pubs or bars. But this happens to be a major method of socialization among my peers. I also find the idea of casual sex unacceptable. Of course, the social code I was used to in Saudi Arabia is one reason. But I reject such inter-personal contact on the grounds that it makes human relationships frivolous. Moreover, the Canadian academic setting expects students to take up leadership roles for various projects and programs. I am yet to develop my leadership ability, probably because I am not exposed to such opportunities before. I am confident that I can gradually overcome my deficiencies in this regard.
• Where do you stand on the Dr. Milton Bennet Model • Check Hofstede’s dimensions – use those parameters and terms to define yourself and for cultures you may be in contact with or need to learn about.
My scores in the Bennet Model suggest that I am in the middle stage of Acceptance of Difference. In terms of Cultural Competence, I am not so poor as to be in the stage of Denial of Difference. At the same time, I am yet to reach the stage of Integration of Difference. Reaching there will be one of my goals.
As for the Hofstede dimensions, there are marked difference between the median scores for Saudi Arabians and those of Canadians, Americans and the French. In parameters such as Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Individualism/Collectivism, Masculinity/Femininity, and Long/Short Term Orientation, my scores reflect an identity that is in transition. My scores fall somewhere between the typical scores for Canadians and those that are typical for Saudis. While America is culturally closely aligned to Canada, one could see clear differences between North American scores and France.
• Check other models presented in the book presentations or any other you may find online about Cultural Competence / Cultural Intelligence you can use to see where you stand.
To further test where I stand in terms of Cultural Intelligence, I took an online test. The result reads: “You see yourself as moderate in Cultural Intelligence. A CQ personal development plan could help you to enhance your capabilities in areas where you see yourself as less capable of functioning effectively in culturally diverse situations.” Hence the message is loud and clear for me – I have to improve my overall cultural competence.
If you can answer these questions you are already on the road to showing real cross- cultural adaptability.
Your knowledge of other cultures few people need to know a lot about all cultures. Most people can focus on learning about certain aspects of culture, or about certain cultures. Try to answer the questions below.
• Which cultures do you need to know about most?
Obviously, at the moment I need to learn the most about Canadian culture. But thanks to the pervasiveness of Hollywood, I think I am fairly exposed to it already. Of course, film is only fiction. To this extent I need to seek to sift the real from the make-believe aspects of culture.
• At the moment, which cultures can you safely ignore when building your knowledge?
I would say that cultures outside of Canada hold little interest for me at the moment. This is not a mark of my prejudice toward other cultures, but simply that, they don’t serve my purpose at this point in time. Having said that, the campus atmosphere here is fairly cosmopolitan. International students are drawn from various corners of the world. I look forward to understanding their native cultures through my interactions with them. This would help me develop my Cultural Intelligence.