Cultural Differences and Commonalities – A Workshop By Dr. Kanika Khandelwal

An interactive workshop was organised by Dr Kanika Khandelwal on the topic of cultural differences and commonalities for the students of the Western Sydney University and LSR on the 30th of October, 2015. The workshop commenced with an ice breaking round in which the Australian students were paired up with the students of the department of Psychology at LSR. Each student was given 15 mins to write 3 words that describe them. They were also asked to write a small paragraph entailing a list of things that best explain them as a person. Next they were asked to exchange notes with each other, finding 3 similarities and 3 differences in what they had written about themselves. To our astonishment, the number of similarities exceeded the number of dissimilarities.

Next they were asked to discuss the origin of their names and who named them. It was interesting to find out the different stories each person had behind their names. Every person was asked to read out whatever notes they had scribbled down, loudly to everyone present in the hall. It was a pleasant surprise to know how people from across borders and boundaries can be so alike.

In the next activity prepared, certain situations were stated and everyone had to raise their hands depending on whether they had experienced it or not. This game is infamously known as ‘HAVE YOU EVER’. Everyone laughed and enjoyed this round the most.

Finally, a small presentation on what culture is, and a comparitive analysis was shown between India and Australia on various parameters with a prime focus on hofstede’s criteria of culture. It also included various steps on how we can foster intercultural relationships.

The entire workshop was very enriching and enlightening. It really left us thinking of how culture is such a man made construct and that the peripheries drawn by humans are rather temporary and permeable. Truly, there is only one family; mankind.

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