Australia, and many Western countries, tend to be more individualistic in nature, where people:
In contrast, collectivist societies:
80% of the world's people live in societies that are collectivist in nature.
Barbara Reekman, AMEP Pathways Guidance Coordinator, discusses the differences between collectivist and individualistic cultures.
This page lists a few topic areas to bear in mind when considering different cultures. These are some areas where differences in cultural values often occur. It is not, however, an exhaustive list. These concepts can be highly sensitive so it is important to approach these with empathy and respect.
Different cultures deal with conflict and disagreements differently. Some will expect clear and direct communication, while others would find this disrespectful.
Religion can significantly impact a person’s worldview and their behaviour in everyday life. Observance of religious rituals and customs varies and is nuanced between cultures and individuals.
The importance of privacy, personal expression and how open someone is with personal details varies considerable among different cultures.
Male and female roles as well as cross gender interaction vary widely between cultures. Many of these differences exist as a form of respect.
Family & Community
The family unit and the dynamics within families vary greatly within cultures. Some cultures have clear expectations of family members; what these are and how well defined these are vary too. For some, the concept of family can include the extended family and even the larger community.
Authority & Hierarchy
The way cultural groups define authority figures and how they show their respect differs greatly. For some cultures there are clear levels of authority while in other cultures there may be a much flatter structure or may not be as obvious. Some factors that may determine authority include age, experience, education or experience.
The importance of punctuality is not universal. In some cultures, strict adherence to appointments is expected where other cultures are much more flexible
Similar to time management, how strictly rules are enforced and what concessions can be made vary from culture to culture.
People are passionate about food! Each culture has their own unique cuisine. There are often ritual or religious connections to meal preparation and participation.
Many students will be suffering culture shock. They may seem to be constantly tired and be finding everything ‘too difficult’. It is worth considering these points: