Preparing for Cultural Experiences

Culture experts discuss preparing for a cultural experience.
Video Transcript

(Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.)
Expert 1: Just some basic ways just to try to prepare yourself for a different cultural experience is just to do some basic reading. Read about the geography. Read about the history of the country, its political stance, some basics on the religion. I think when you take a look at the considerations of culture, whether it’s military, it’s diplomatic, and its political structure. What’s the economy? And all these things help build your knowledge on the complexity and the mission that you’re getting ready to go into.

Expert 2: The beauty of the internet today is, soldiers can do a lot of work themselves on their own. We don’t have to spoon feed them. In fact, we’re often really delighted when we go to a unit and we find out that, hey, these guys are already spinning out. They’re already doing research. They’re already doing things. Because there’s just a wealth of material out there that’s easy for soldiers to do.

Expert 3: One of the things that I’ll often do when I’m preparing to travel is, if I know anybody in that country, even just another American who’s working there, living there, I will often contact them and ask them, “What do you wish that you’d read before you came to this country?” and asking that to somebody who’s living there that has had some time to think about what would have been helpful for me to know before I came here to live, to work here, deploy, whatever. That will often be very helpful as you’re preparing to go somewhere and it’s just like anything else. Use other people’s after action reviews and  get their feedback. Ask them how they could have done things better to prepare themselves for being there and use that to help yourself out.

Culture experts discuss preparing for a cultural experience.