The students were divided into two groups. Each group was instructed in a new and different way of living. One group was called the Alpha Culture, the other group the Beta culture. The people of in the Alpha Culture are fun loving, superstitious, honor their elders and enjoy close human contact. People in Beta culture are hard working, businesslike, foreign speaking and do not like to be close to one another. Once the members of each group learned the rules of their new culture, observers were exchanged. Observers traveled to the new culture to learn by listening and watching. After a short visit, they returned home and reported their findings. Visitors were then exchanged with the charge of living among the “foreigner”. Unlike the observers who were restricted to watching and listening, visitors were encouraged to speak and interact with their hosts. During all of the visits, no one was allowed to ask about specific rules of the culture but had to infer them from observations or experiences. Bella in the above photo is saying “no” in the Beta language using her arms symbolically.
In the photo below, Chloe has her visitor badge on, signifying that she is visiting a new culture.
After the simulation the students debriefed their experience and had this to say:
“Knowing what is disrespectful is hard to know in another culture.”
“If you live by the standards of your culture, it is difficult to understand a foreign one.”
“It is very easy to take advantage of outsiders.”
“Language barriers are hard to navigate.”
“You have to figure out the culture before making assumptions.”
“It is easy to insult someone outside of your culture.”
“Observing is important.”
-Special thanks to Kirsten Gustavson for leading this activity.
For more information about the simulation please visit: http://www.simulationtrainingsystems.com/schools-and-charities/products/rafa-rafa/