I wish I had read this book back when I was 19, traveling internationally for the first time. It also would’ve been incredibly helpful for me to have on the plane before I spent two months last summer in Papua New Guinea. It offers a great framework for understanding the differences between cultures on a number of important levels:
- Hot vs Cold Climate Cultures
- Relationship vs Task Orientation
- Direct vs Indirect Communication
- Individualism vs Group Identity
- Inclusion vs Privacy
- Different Concepts of Hospitality
- High-Context vs Low-Context Cultures
- Different Concepts of Time and Planning
The author, Sarah Lanier, is a seasoned traveler, having lived overseas on and off since the age of nine. She is conversant in five languages and travels internationally on behalf of an interdenominational Christian organization as a consultant and lecturer on culture, leadership, and team dynamics. In her book, the author includes clear, simple examples from her own experiences in cross-cultural communication.
The book is brief and left me wanting more, but it’s a great jumping off point. I will definitely be taking it along with me on future, long-term, international trips.