Thursday, February 5, 2009

Foreign to Familiar

Foreign to Familiar:
A Guide to Understanding Hot - And Cold - Climate Cultures

by Sarah A. Lanier
McDougal Publishing

This little book was given to us by Alan and Esther Giesbrecht, our Eastern Field directors. It is a concise, easily understood work - written from vast experience. It shares some very valuable insights into the differences in cultures and the way in which they interact. 'Foreign to Familiar' is a very practical break down of basic cultural anthropology and an invaluable resource to anyone who might encounter individuals of another culture.

I would encourage anyone to read this who might be considering any type of ministry work - or any travel abroad for that matter. It is surprising how much about our own culture that we taken for granted.

Various cultures interact with those in their group differently. Our perspective as North Americans is based on our own cultural system - without actively seeking to do so, it can be difficult to grasp anything other than that which we currently understand as 'normal'. Throughout the book it is explained clearly that there are numerous ways in which people of different cultures relate. Some cultures are relationship oriented, some are task oriented - and the way in which they communicate can vary greatly. Simply understanding that these differences exist and how we can recognize them will allow us to be much more sensitive and prepared to interact with people from other cultures.

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