What is Your CQ? Developing and Using CulturalIntelligence to Manage Differences and Create Harmony in a Multicultural Setting Activities OCASI 2011Melissa Pedersen firstname.lastname@example.orgPeter Cory email@example.com
Activity 1: We Don’t Know What We Don’t KnowShare with your group 3 things you didn’t know about Canada when you came.If you are from Canada, share 3 things you didn’t know about another culturehere or while travelling.Activity 2: Self Reflection: Check Out Your BiasesTo develop our Cultural Intelligence, we must first be aware of our ownattitudes and biases. This is a short reflective exercise. Be honest withyourself! 1. How knowledgeable about the world views of different cultures and ethnic groups am I? 2. How aware of my biases and prejudices towards other cultural and ethnic groups am I? 3. How often do I seek out personal contacts with persons who are from different cultural or ethnic groups? 4. How do I react to a person who speaks English poorly? 5. What are my beliefs about persons who: • Have different political views from mine? • Practice a different religion or form of spirituality? • Are very poor? Very rich? • Have unusual clothing and grooming styles? • Have or have had a mental illness? • Have a physical disability? • Have a different sexual orientation? • Have a different level of education from mine? • Are of the opposite gender? • Are of a particular age group (teenagers, older seniors, etc.)?
Activity 3:Write your first name in English. Then choose the alphabet you don’t knowand write your name in this alphabet.Russian Korean
Activitiy 4: Newcomer Letters: Voices of Culture ShockA Long Way from ScotlandIt took me a while to feel Canadian. Coming from Scotland, I struggled tounderstand blue bins and two-fours. Now I take the elevator, not the lift.The first question I had while flying over Pearson airport, was "where are all themountains?"My second question, as I drove from the airport to my new home, was "Why isthere snow on the ground in the middle of November? I struggled to acclimatizeto the freezing temperatures.More questions:" Whats a snowbird?", "Whats a blue bin?" and "How do we turnthe heat up?"Next came the bureaucratic questions. "Whats a SIN card?" "Whats OHIP?""Why does the bank charge us for taking our own money out of our account?"A gap in my cultural knowledge. "Who are the Group of Seven?" "Who areMargaret Atwood and Leonard Cohen?" Reluctant to give up BBC radio andnews, I clung desperately to my past, maintaining a dual media.Once I began working in accounting, a new world of unwritten rules and customswas unveiled. I studied hard, trying to make myself as Canadian as possible. Nomatter how much I tried to adapt and fit in, still the questions came bubbling up."Why do they use a different size of printer paper than in Europe?" And, mostimportantly, "three weeks holiday a year? Is that it?"Each night I returned home exhausted. Scottish friends mocked me for soundingCanadian, while Canadians still treated me like a foreigner. I was in culturallimbo. Although I obviously enjoyed many advantages to help me settle in, I wasexperiencing genuine culture shock. I looked the part, but under the surface Iwas a mass of insecurity and unhappiness, terrified of unwitting social, or worse,work-related faux pas.Gradually, the agitated voice inside me quieted a little and asked fewerquestions. And now that Im a Canadian citizen and have the right to vote, andnot so many “why’s.”. All except for one: "If the Leafs are so bad, why are ticketsto the games so expensive?"Adapted from The Globe and Mail, October 2009.
From a Refugee Camp to CanadaIn the early 1990s the former king of Bhutan expelled more than 100,000 Nepali-speaking Bhutanese from the country. The expelled Bhutanese fled to Nepal,where they were corralled into refugee camps. After years of talks ended instalemate, seven Western nations agreed to accept the Bhutanese.Vishnu Patel, his wife and three children, all born in the refugee camp, came toCanada in June 2009. Vishnu wrote this letter:Before we came to Canada, all I knew was that it was freezing cold. I was luckyto learn English when I worked as a Security Guard in India, but my family cannotspeak any English. My children are not happy. School is too hard for them andmy 8 year old cried, telling his mother he cannot understand a word the teacherssay to him. My family is finding everything confusing – light switches, flush toilets,refrigerators, even chilled food. We never had even telephones in our village;here people walk on the streets talking on cell phones.Right now I cannot find a job. The federal government will pay us assistance forone year but I am worried about what will happen when that ends. I registered fora Trades training program and hope to get a job when it ends. We can get foodfrom a food bank and found cheap winter clothing at Value Village. We try not touse the electricity at night to save money. But sometimes it’s hard to sit in thedark.But we are amazed that our apartment has running water, plumbing andelectricity. In Nepal, my eldest daughter rose at dawn every morning to fetchwater and my wife cooked meals in a fire pit in the corner of our bamboo hut. Forthe first time in 17 years, I possess a document –Canadian permanent residencecard – that gives me the right to work.Our greatest support, besides the official settlement services, has come from thetotal strangers who live nearby. A couple, who once lived in Asia, rememberedthe culture shock and loneliness of the beginning of their life there and havehelped us get used to Canadian life, taking us sightseeing, grocery shopping andtranslating the letters the children bring home from school. They visit us oftenand rarely arrive empty-handed. We will never forget what they have done for us.
Dashed ExpectationsI wanted desperately to start a new life for myself and my family. Ithought that Canada was a rich country that could provide me with endlessemployment and financial opportunities. Before going, all I could think about washow wonderful the future was going to be. You can imagine how excited I waswhen we arrived at the airport. Pearson International airport in Toronto is huge,shiny and beautiful. Canada was going to be my home. But I had some troublewith the immigration officials. I couldn’t understand them and they were rude.They even looked me in the eye. When my and I family met our sponsor, wewere taken to their home, which was much smaller and less luxurious than theone I had imagined. I was sure that when I and my family moved into our ownplace t would be bigger and nicer than the sponsor’s house. The first few dayswere hard; our sponsor was at work all day and we were left at home to wait forhis return. We didn’t dare go outside. We didn’t speak English and the weatherwas very cold. My wife and I decided to begin looking for a job. Aftersome time, my wife found one as a dishwasher, but I didn’t have muchluck. I started getting frustrated because of having to cope with all of the changesin my life. Then our sponsor asked us to move out because it was too crowded inthe house. The sponsor suggested a place with Metro Housing, and we found asmall apartment in a run down and poor neighbourhood. My jobsearch continued, but with no success. We started having financial problems.I felt depressed and also began having headaches, stomach aches and difficultysleeping. How could my expectations of Canada have been so different from thereality of that first year?Adapted from CIC website: Culture Shock
Activity 5: Talk About Culture Shock:Culture Shock Time LinesEuphoria Acceptance, Integration________________________________________________________________ Anger, Disappointment, Frustration, Depression*What are some positive and negative experiences you have had adjustingto Canada?Where would they be on this graph? Share your experiences with a partneror your group.Discuss the emotions you felt during these experiences. Compare andcontrast with the others in your group.*Adapted from CIC website: Culture Shock
Activity 6:Every culture has a set of gestures which have idiomatic meaning. Look atthe pictures below and discuss what the people are “saying” and what thegesture signifies in Canadian culture and your culture. What are somegestures in your home country that you don’t see Canadians using?
Activity 7: Scenario at Interconnect Inc.:A newcomer employee is hired by Interconnect, Inc. to work in a teamenvironment. He performs well and is trying to fit in. He takes extra tasks with nohesitation, is willing to work flexible hours, and other members of the team seekhis professional advice.His efforts are praised by the management.However, during lunch time, in informal professional settings and socialfunctions, his colleagues talk about events, hobbies or cultural activities and he isnot able to participate at any level. He does not know music groups that existedbefore his arrival in Canada, knows nothing about Canadian Hockey, skiing,snowmobiling, etc. Colleagues have said things like, “You’ll have to come to myhouse and watch a game,” but an invitation has never been formally extended tohim.He now feels that they only talk to him when they need his help. They now feelhis questions and lack of knowledge are annoying, and that he is not trying to fitin. He is feeling more and more isolated. Resentment is growing on both sides;he does not want to share his expertise any more, his colleagues see him as aworkaholic with no life.
Conclusion: The Elephant allegorySix people who had never seen an elephant are told that there is one in a darkroom and each of them has the right to go in and touch that strange animal tofind out what it is like.The six enter one at a time to discover what the elephant is like. The first touchesthe trunk, the second a tusk, the third an ear, the fourth a foot, the fifth the belly,and the sixth the tail. They all come back convinced they know exactly what anelephant is like.They begin to describe the elephant. “Oh, it’s fantastic”, says the first. “so slowand soft, so long and strong”. “No!” says the one who touched the tusk, “it’s shortand very hard”. “You’re both wrong”, says the third, who had felt the ear, “theelephant is flat and thin as a big leaf.” “Oh no”, says the fourth, who had touchedthe foot, “it’s like a tree”. And then the other two have their say: “It’s like a wall”,“it’s like a rope”. They argue and argue, until they lose their tempers and come toblows.Finally someone brings the elephant out of the room and into the light and the sixrealize that they were all partly right: all the parts they had described, puttogether, make the elephant.Activity 8:Go to www.kwintessential.co.uk or www.culturalq.com or www.tapslhi.org andtake the Cultural Intelligence quiz(es). Adapt some questions for your class…orask them to go on-line.