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Intercultural sensitivity

Orientation to Medaille, Buffalo, WNY, Niagara Frontier, New York State, the U.S.

Wikipedia’s tacit knowledge

 “we can know more than we can tell.”

With tacit knowledge, people are not often aware of the knowledge they possess or how it can be valuable to others. Effective transfer of tacit knowledge generally requires extensive personal contact, regular interactionand trust. This kind of knowledge can only be revealed through practice in a particular context and transmitted through social networks.[4] To some extent it is “captured” when the knowledge holder joins a network or a community of practice.[3]

The purpose of this segment of the course is to introduce a process for acquiring the tacit cultural knowledge that will make this course more worthwhile for the students. A sample of the kinds of experiences they need to be able to adapt better to U.S. culture:

  • dress, degrees of formality
  • punctuality
  • display of emotion
  • conversations
  • personal distance
  • friendship building
  • restaurants and tipping
  • transportation
  • queing

  • roommates and living with Americans
  • shopping

youth culture—fashion, music, interests, trends and attitudes
Taboos—faux pas; the gestures and procedures that we use that people of other cultures may consider improper or insulting
work ethic
Gender Roles—social and private, men and women’s role and responsibilities; work, dress, concept of beauty and modesty
Behaviors—how to handle oneself in social and emotional contexts; eye contact, communications, touching, friendship, loyalty, honor, age differences
Academic Standards and Practices—school system, courses of study, roles and responsibilities of students and teachers, level of family support, disciplinary procedures


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