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Hans Durrer

Coaching & Counselling

Lectures & Workshops


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From Foreign Lands

On This and That





in English, German, French, and Spanish.

This you will learn:
cultural self-knowledge
the various aspects of intercultural communication
* strategies to avoid cultural misunderstandings

What exactly do I mean by coaching?
Well, I tell my clients - anybody who is interested in foreign cultures - what they should do when being confronted with cultures that are different from the ones they are used to.
That is impossible, many will probably object, you can't tell people what to do, you need to listen to them. Besides, they have to find out themselves what is good for them.
Agreed, but that is easier if they have some sort of orientation pole. I do not expect my clients to do what I tell them to do (they won't do it anyway), my goal is to confront them with what I deem useful observations in regards to cultural conditionings. Or with the mistakes that I have made - then they really pay attention for what they do want is to make mistakes. Particularly not my stupid ones.

Here's one:
In Thailand, the concept of standing in line is not exactly widely understood. Once, I angrily asked a guy who had just jumped the line what the Thai word for "standing in line" was. Queue, he said. That's English, I retorted, what is the Thai word for it? Queue, he repeated. Aha, I thought, that explains it - no word, no concept.

Years later, during a conversation with a Thai student at an Australian university, I said mockingly: no wonder that in Thailand people always jump the line, you do not even have a word for standing in line. Of course we have, she retorted. A Thai word? Yes, a Thai word. But is it used? Some people are using it, she said.

My conclusion?
Be careful whom you're asking if you want to learn about another culture.


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