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Pitzer College & Harvey Mudd College The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation InterCultural Learning through Technology Student Orientation -Turkey. What Do You Already Know About Turkey and Its Culture?. Size (area) Population Average lifespan Literacy rate Bordering countries

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Pitzer College & Harvey Mudd College

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

InterCultural Learning through Technology

Student Orientation -Turkey


What Do You Already Know About Turkey and Its Culture?

  • Size (area)
  • Population
  • Average lifespan
  • Literacy rate
  • Bordering countries
  • Two world-famous rivers
  • Currency and exchange rate
  • Capital
  • Most commonly spoken language/Language family
  • Official religion
  • Three primary industries
  • Europe or Asia?
  • Member of the EU?

Turkish: Lesson

Merhaba Hello

Nasilsiniz How are you?

Iyiyim Fine

Teshekur ederim Thank you



  • Cultural Generalization
  • Cultural Stereotype

Intercultural Communication


Culture –

The learned and shared values, beliefs, and behaviors of a group of interacting people.

Cultural Generalization –

The tendency of a majority of people in a cultural group to hold certain values and beliefs, and to engage in certain patterns of behavior

Cultural Stereotypes –

The application of a generalization to every person in a cultural group; or, generalizing from only a few people in a group.

Janet M. and Milton J. Bennett


Objective Culture: Artifacts and Visions: Architecture, art, political and economic systems, literature, dance, heroes, holidays, collective history

Subjective Culture: Learned and Shared Values, Beliefs, and Behaviors: National, ethnic, regional, gender, socioeconomic class, educational level, religion, age, physical ability, sexual orientation, organizational

Janet M. and Milton J. Bennett


Building Blocks of

Culture and Intercultural


  • Concept of Self: individualist and collectivist
  • Personal vs. Societal Responsibility: universalist and particularist
  • Concept of Time:monochronic and polychronic
  • Locus of Control:internal and external
  • Direct and Indirect Communication

direct/low context and indirect/high context

Craig Storti, Figuring Foreigners Out


Individualist and Collectivist

Individualist: The smallest unit of survival is the individual. People identify primarily with self, and the needs of the individual are satisfied before those of the group. Looking after and taking care of oneself, being self-sufficient, guarantees the well-being of the group. Independence and self-reliance are stressed and greatly valued, and personal freedom is highly desired. In general, there is more psychological and emotional distance from others. One may choose to join groups, but the group membership is not essential to one’s identity, survival, or success.

Collectivist: The primary group, usually the immediate family, is the smallest unit of survival. One’s identity is in large part a function of one’s membership and role in a group (e.g. the family, the work team.) The survival and success of the group ensures the well-being of the individual, so that by considering the needs and feelings of others, one protects oneself. Harmony and interdependence of group members are stressed and valued. There is relatively little psychological or emotional distance between group members and nongroup members.

“When someone says privacy, I think of loneliness.”

---an Ethiopian student

Craig Storti, Figuring Foriegners Out


Particularist and Universalist

Particularist:How you behave in a given situation depends on the

circumstances. What is right in one situation may not be right in

another. You treat family, friends, and your ingroups the best you can, and you let the rest of the world take care of itself. (Their ingroups will protect them.) One’s ingroups and outgroups are clearly distinguished. There will always be exceptions made for certain people. To be fair is to treat everyone as unique. In any case, no one expects life to be fair. Personal feelings should not be laid aside but rather relied upon.

Universalist:There are certain absolutes that apply across the board, regardless of circumstances or the particular situation. What is right is always right. Wherever possible, you should try to apply the same rules to everyone in like situations. To be fair is to treat everyone alike and not make exceptions for families, friends, or members of your ingroup. In general, ingroup/outgroup distinctions are minimized. Where possible, you should lay your personal feelings aside and look at situations objectively. While life isn’t necessarily fair, you can make it more fair by treating everyone the same.

Craig Storti, Figuring Foriegners Out


Monochronic and Polychronic

Monochronic: Time is a commodity; it is quantifiable, and there is a limited amount of it. Therefore, it is necessary to use time wisely and not waste it. There is a premium on efficiency, hence a sense of urgency in many matters. Time is the given and people are the variable. The needs of people are adjusted to suit the demands of time. It is considered most efficient to do one thing at a time or wait on one person at a time. As far as possible, you shouldn’t let circumstances, unforeseen events, interfere with your plans. Interruptions are a nuisance.

Polychronic: Time is limitless and not quantifiable. There is always more time, and people are never too busy. Time is the servant and tool of people and is adjusted to suit the needs of people. Schedules and deadlines often get changed. People may have to do several things simultaneously, as required by circumstances. It’s not necessary to finish one thing before starting another. You always have to take circumstances into account and make adjustments. Strictly speaking, there’s no such thing as an interruption.

Craig Storti, Figuring Foriegners Out


External and Internal

External: The locus of control is largely external to the individual.

Some things in life are predetermined, built into the nature of things. There are limits beyond which one cannot go and certain givens that cannot be changed and must be accepted. (“That’s just the way things are.”) Your success is a combination of your effort and good fortune. Life is in large part what happens to you; thus, these represent more fatalist cultures.

Internal: The locus of control is largely internal, within the individual. There are very few givens in life, few things or circumstances which have to be accepted as they are and cannot be changed. There are no limits on what you can do or become, so long as you set your mind to it and make the necessary effort. Your success is your own achievement. You are responsible for what happens to you. Life is what you do; hence, these represent more activist cultures.

Craig Storti, Figuring Foriegners Out

Direct and Indirect Communication

Direct/Low Context

Direct cultures tend to be less collectivist

than indirect cultures, with less well-

developed ingroups. People lead more

independent lives and have fewer shared

experiences; hence, there is less instinctive

understanding of others. People need to

spell things out and be more explicit, to say

exactly what they mean rather than merely

suggest or imply. There is less context, less

that can be taken for granted. The spoken

word carries most of the meaning; you

should not read anything into what is said or

done. The goal of most communication is

getting or giving information.

Craig Storti, Figuring Foreigners Out


Indirect/High Context

People in these cultures tend to infer, suggest, and imply rather than say things directly. At least, that is how they appear to people from more direct/low context cultures –though not, of course, to each other. These cultures tend to be more collectivist, where harmony and saving face are the greatest goods; hence, there is a natural tendency towards indirectness and away from confrontation. In collectivist cultures, ingroups are well established and members have an intuitive understanding of each other, in part because of shared experiences. This means that as a rule people don’t need to spell things out or say very much to get their message across. This intuitive understanding is known as a context, and in high-context cultures messages often don’t even need words to be expressed; nonverbal communication may be enough, or the message may be expressed in terms of what is not said or done.v The goal of most communication exchanges is preserving and strengthening the relationship with the other person.

Craig Storti, Figuring Foreigners Out


Understanding the concept of

subjective culture and how it

differs from objective culture.

Recognizing various “types” of culture, such as national, ethnic, gender, etc.

Janet M. and Milton J. Bennett


Achieving awareness of your own cultures.

Distinguishing between harmful cultural stereotypes and necessary cultural generalizations.

Becoming motivated to understand culture and cultural difference.

Janet M. and Milton J. Bennett


An Intercultural

Skill Set

With an intercultural skill set, you can use general frameworks to identify relevant cultural differences and analyze their effect on communication. An intercultural skill set includes the ability to empathize with people of other cultures and to adapt your behavior in conscious and appropriate ways. It may even mean increasing your own repertoire of behavior to include behavior appropriate in other cultures.

Janet M. and Milton J. Bennett


Create Space for Intercultural Communication

  • Avoid culture stereotyping and be careful with cultural generalizations. “Americans are…”
  • Refrain from sarcasm, slang, and obscenity.
  • Write grammatically. Use capitalization and Punctuation.
  • Reserve judgment. Be aware of the influence your own cultures are exerting on your interpretation of a message, behavior, or situation.
  • Extend the benefit of the doubt. Assume good will.
  • Always convey respect with your words, even if you fiercely disagree with someone.
  • Be gracious. Be appreciative.

Janet M. and Milton J. Bennett



“We take long trips.

We puzzle over the meaning of a painting or a rock or a book,

When what we are wanting to see and understand

In this world, we are that.”

Poem 549 by Jelaluddin Rumi