"A person immersed in their familiar home culture is like a fish swimming in the sea - all is natural, predictable, and exactly as it should be. Only when the fish is taken from the water, or the person from their home culture, does it become clear that everything that was familiar and predictable and safe is gone, and all learning must begin anew."
Cultural Dimensions Press is a small publishing house located in the Texas Hill Country. We are dedicated to publishing high quality, low-cost, practical and useful studies of world cultures.
Our dual focus is not only on what North Americans need to know about the cultures where they plan to travel, live, do business, or work, but also on what North Americans need to know about their own cultural values, beliefs and perspectives. We believe that far too often travel guides and cross-cultural studies are focused almost exclusively on learning about "them", whereas true understanding lies in mastering the dynamics of our own uniquely North American cultural values as they interface with the values of those people whose culture we want to understand.
To achieve this dual purpose, we work hard to interview and draw from the experiences of people from diverse cultural backgrounds as we attempt to outline the pathways to mutual understanding. Nevertheless we want to be clear that we realize that our cultural perspective, however hard we try to avoid obvious biases, will always be "North American – centric". No apologies here - just fair disclosure.
Our Cultural Dimensions series are not simply a "nice to know" intellectual exercise; rather, they are designed to be a set of tools that can be used by students and teachers, international business people, professionals, serious travelers and especially for people planning to live as expatriates to become more effective in developing the kinds of relationships that lead to better personal, family, business and professional outcomes.
©2008 Bill Drake (P)2013 Bill Drake
Insightful, Complete, Entertaining.
I think this is a great listen for anyone headed across the pond to live for a while. I heard some of this before I went, learned much while I was there, but then there is more I missed even in two years in London! Narration in lovely voice with (my view) perfect English accent makes you feel like you are there as you learn about not just what is different, but the heritage of why.
As a repatriated North American listening to Cultural Dimensions of Expatriate Life in the UK, I found this audio book enlightening even after the fact. Having the transitions from North American to British culture behind me and having discussed the experience in-depth with many fellow expats, I felt that the author is spot on with his insights into the challenges, surprises, and joys of the expatriate adjustment.
The author takes a unique approach to introducing an expat to the host culture, placing his emphasis on the psychological challenges one will face in the process. The conventional approach to advising expats on acclimating to a new environment, has, in my experience, been overdone. Their predictable offering of practical tips and strategies for functioning in a foreign culture are less helpful and easier to come by than the insights offered in this audio book. While such things as vocabulary differences and unfamiliar conduct in mundane situations are very real, they are not where the challenges lie, in my opinion. They lie in the profound psychological shifts one undergoes in the transition to the host culture and this author acknowledges and addresses both.
Additionally, the narration of the material by a British woman lends great credibility to the content but also imparts a certain reassuring quality which leaves the listener with a sense that all will be manageable in the transition to the new culture.
This book would have helped me tremendously had it been available a decade ago when I found myself transitioning to life in England. The range of emotions and adjustments one makes as an expat are significant and can be confusing as they are experienced. The material offered in this book make sense of these changes and would have made the process so much more enjoyable at the time.
As an Intercultural Consultant, I have found native English speaking executives relocating to another English speaking country often assume the transition will be easy and the differences will be insignificant. Bill Drake's superb audiobook skilfully illustrates that this is not always true, and highlights the importance of understanding the underlying values of both the British and American cultures and how the differences often result in behaviours that may be confusing or misinterpreted. Bill gives practical advice and insight to help Americans to adapt and adjust to their new environment, focussing on what they may find to be the most challenging. I especially liked his example of, "the biggest mistake Americans make", and other practical suggestions of how not to unintentionally offend colleagues and neighbours. As it is quite long, I would recommend listening in a few sessions, which is easily accomplished as the book is divided neatly into many separate sections. I would also encourage listening to the end, as the chapter on culture shock is quite well done. In addition to providing cross-cultural training programmes for adults, I also facilitate youth programmes, and I found the part on the repatriation issues associated with teenagers re-entering the USA outstanding.
This was my first time listening to Kate Sample. I think Bill made a perfect choice. Kate's engaging style held my attention throughout each chapter of the audiobook, and a British accent worked very well with the subject matter.
Very useful tips on understanding British culture and helping to make the most of your experience in the UK.
This book is would also be interesting to any American who plans to visit the UK in more than a tourist capacity as it helps enlighten you on the British culture and its daily life
Lovely voice kept the book interesting and made it very easy to follow
no - I listened to it over the space of a few days
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