Volume 26, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0155-0640
  • E-ISSN: 1833-7139
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This paper reports on a structured exchange program between Chinese and Australian students which focuses on discussion and reflections on everyday cultural practices and behaviours, the most relevant but often least accessible aspect of culture for international students. We ground these discussions in a setting common to both groups: the situationally familiar, yet culturally unfamiliar, environment of Australian universities. The interactions allow students to create a comfortable and non-threatening ‘cultural space’ from where they reflect on their own and others’ cultural mores and practices that occur within the context of the university setting. Students discuss the underlying values that drive behaviours in situations ranging from social gatherings such as parties, to task-oriented academic settings such as tutorials. The program includes a strong language component. We ask students to reflect on the language used in daily conversations, the language appropriate for particular situations, and the cultural norms that interface between situations and language appropriate to them. The aim of our program differs from that of models since it proceeds from less conventional understandings about culture, agency, and authenticity, and therefore the extent to which cross-cultural communication should involve interpretation rather than enculturation as the traditional programs appear to advocate.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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