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Cultural values

Presentation for exchange students travelling to Argentina or Uruguay

Lucas Barchuk

on 13 May 2014

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Transcript of Cultural values

Did you reflect on what your culture's iceberg would be like?
Here is a sample of how Argentina’s culture could be represented
High context communication
Warm hearted
Unstable economy
Che Guevara
Disobeying rules (traffic)
Family orientation
Living in the present
Latin background
Good image
High power distance
Masculine society
Relationship oriented
Shared personal space
Strong ties to Europe
Immigrant's nation
Street wise
Indirect communication
Does it look similar to the one you figured out about your own culture?
We will continue now going a bit deeper on the understanding of some specific cultural values and their implications on our behaviors...
Cultural Values

1) The way we communicate
2) The way we use the space
3) The relationship between young people and the elders
5) The way roles are distributed by gender
4)The way we consider ourselves as part of a social network
High/Low context in
While some cultures prefer a direct style of communication, others tend to communicate more indirectly
When using a direct communication style people say what they mean and mean what they say; you don’t need to read between the lines. It’s important to tell it like it is; honesty is the best policy; the truth is more important than sparing someone’s feelings
In cultures where indirect is the preferred communication style, people imply/suggest what they mean. Understatement is valued and you are expected to read between the lines. In these cases the truth, if it hurts, should be tempered. Relationships always come first.
Argentina&Uruguay are countries where indirect communication is most commonly used. Have a look at this situation:
Another important element in communication is the context
Some cultures are called High Context cultures because most of the information is taken from the context (relationships, background, history, non-verbal communication)
Other cultures seem to rely less on the context (Low context cultures) and the message is transmitted explicitly trough words
Argentina & Uruguay are considered high context cultures so when communicating with others you may need to pick up clues from the surrounding environment to better understand the message
Mum, can I go out with my friends tonight?
Do as you want!
Student goes out and host mum gets very upset...
What happened?
Student comes from a culture where communication is direct so, if you say do as you want, that is exactly what he will do!
On the other hand, the host mum prefers being indirect and expects the student to read between the lines
So, watch out!
Make sure you pay attention to the non verbal communication as well!!!
How often would you have a shower if your host father says:
Martin, in this country we are very hygienic.
Make sure you are always clean and tidy!
That is very high context! To translate it into low context communication we would say:
Martin, in Argentina we have a shower every day. Usually we do it before we go to bed so we can sleep fresh. However in some hot cities, families tend to have two showers a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We would like you to have one a day.
Can you think of other examples?
Every culture has implicit rules for how space should be used and these rules vary from one culture to the next.
Personal space
is the distance from other people that one needs to maintain to feel comfortable
It could be described as a “bubble” each person carries around with her- or himself at all times
This bubble changes in size according to the situation and the people with whom one interacts and varies by culture
How big is your “bubble”?
In Argentina & Uruguay you may find that this “bubble” everyone carries seems to be very little since people greet each other with a kiss (even if it is the first time you meet this person!), hug each other as a way of showing affection, and even talk to each other at a very short distance.
While in some cultures this relation is very egalitarian, and people relate to each other as equals, in other cultures it’s more hierarchical.
For instance in Argentina, parents do not appreciate children talking back to them. Young people are less independent than in other countries and they are even expected to ask for permission to go out. Drinking alcohol in front of host parents is considered very disrespectful.
There are some cultures –that could be called Individualistic- where it’s members tend to make decisions independently and be most concerned about themselves and close family members (e.g. USA, Australia, Germany)
On the other hand, in Collectivistic societies, group ties are strong and the family unit includes extended family (aunts and uncles, cousins, etc.)
Argentina & Uruguay are examples of Collectivistic national cultures (as well as most Asian and Latin-American countries).
Each member of a family is considered more as a representative of his/her family than as an independent individual, and that will also apply to you as a member of your host family.
In Collectivistic societies, successes and failures are shared and the decisions one member of a family may make have an impact for the whole group. That explains the fact you will find many members of your hosting community asking you about which family is hosting you.
So, make sure you think before you act!
The whole community will be watching you!
There are some societies where gender roles are clearly differentiated: Men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success. Women are supposed to be more modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life.
In Argentina & Uruguay you will find that tasks might be divided on the basis of gender: Women usually deal with household issues while men do this less. The vast majority of middle class families have a Housemaid (“empleada”) which is a female. These kind of societies are considered masculine. It is characteristic of masculine societies to put much value on being competitive and successful in what you do.
Masculine societies
Feminine societies
In contrast to masculine societies, in more feminine societies dominant values are caring for others and quality of life. Social gender roles overlap here: Both men and women are supposed to be modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life.
What do you think your country is like?
More masculine or more feminine?
Now that you’ve been diving a bit deeper, are you ready to go to Argentina or Uruguay?
Are you ready to experience those differences?
Are you ready to learn more about those values?

On the next module you will find a brief questionnaire to help you check what you can remember about our cultural values.
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