Intercultural awareness

Learning part

Human, Cultural and Personal identity

Every person carries within hem-/herself three levels of identities, a human, a cultural, and a personal identity/ a personality.

The Human Identity:

All human beings share universal characters that are inherited through the human genes. These universal characters are:

  1. Belong to a group: Human beings need to belong to a group such as a family, a society, or a nation.
  2. Feelings and emotion: All human beings share feelings such as love, fear, joy, and sadness.
  3. Verbal communication: All human beings communicate through a spoken language.
  4. Learning skills: All human beings can seek, accumulate, and share knowledge and experiences to each other.
  5. Creative skills: All human beings, through history have always practiced and expressed themselves through singing, dancing, drawing, and other creative skills.

The Cultural Identity: Acquired and Specific for the group

In its very core, culture is certain patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting that are acquired through growing up in the group and are specific for the group. A cultural group can be as small as a family and as big as a nation. These shared patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting provide the members of the group with a shared identity, a sense of belonging, and unity with the group. These shared patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting are anchored in shared values, norms, and traditions:

  1. Values are deeds and believes that are praised by the group. Examples of values are helpfulness in opposite to, respect, and honesty. The set of shared values create a shared perception of good and bad/sin for the members of the group. Different cultural groups can perceive the same universal characteristic differently. For example, in some cultures, expressing sadness by crying is perceived as bad/negative for males because crying is perceived as weakness, the opposite of the value, strength.
  2. Norms are the unwritten rules and expectations to how to act in accordance with the values of the group. Examples of norms and traditions is how to act as a man/a woman, as a guest/a host, and as a father/ a son.
  3. Traditions and norms may seem similar. However, traditions are more relevant to unwritten rules to how to the group act together. Examples of traditions is how weddings are celebrated and how funerals are held.

Personality; Inherited, acquired and specific for the individual

Personality is the product of both one’s unique inherited genetic characteristics and acquired life experience.

  1. The unique personal set of genes, such as being born male or female, or healthy or sick have different impact in different culture. For example, in some cultures, being born female makes it more difficult to become independent.
  2. The unique personal life experience is affected by the cultural environment, where the experience takes place. For example, having many or no siblings, having or having restricted or inspiring childhood play a big role in forming the personality.

    Description of the exercise

    Click and drag each phrase to the right level in the pyramid.