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Intercultural Challenges
What I would have loved to know before I went
University College of Southeast Norway
59.568632, 9.278037
Topic When are we meeting exactly?

Module 1: uncertainty situation

Meeting with people form other cultures is not always easy. Everybody has another view on ‘being on time’. I will use an example to show the differences between different cultures I have experienced in Norway. ;

We had a group chat with all the international students. One German students had the idea to meet in the common room for a ‘Taco party’. The idea was that everybody would bring something to share with the rest of the group. We made a ‘grocery list’ in the group so we had an overview on what to bring with us. Meeting time was 7pm.

-        The ‘Germans’ arrived at 6.30pm to prepare the common room. Germans are very punctual and on time. They are often too early. They were playing games in the common room while waiting for us.

-        We as ‘Belgians’ arrived on time. We arrived around 7pm. Not too early, not too late. (We see this as being ‘on time’). Me and another Belgian girl convinced our American and British friend to leave together with us.

-        The ‘French’ were ‘too late’. They arrived around 7.45pm. We played some games and talked with each other. When they arrived with the rest of the food, we started eating.

The other people didn’t have a problem with that because we knew that they would be later and they also let us know that they would be later.

-        The Spanish guys arrived at 9pm. We already finished dinner. They understood that we had already finished our food. They are not used to eating dinner that early.

This is how it was most evenings. Everybody was okay with that because we knew how different it can be in different cultures. We knew this and took this into account when we had to meet with other people. People always let us know if they were too late so it was nice that we all understood each other so nobody had to wait alone.

(This is an example how I experienced cultural differences in Norway. This is just one example, I do not want to generalize.)


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