Storti (1990). The Art of Crossing Cultures.

Storti, C. (1990). The Art of Crossing Cultures. Intercultural Press.

[Book about culture shock, adjusting to other cultures, especially for expats in new surroundings.]

[Type I incidents are behaviours that are alien to the expat; Type II incidents are the cultural missteps that the expat is making.]

“… by withdrawing and isolating ourselves from the culture, we seriously undermine any possibility of meaningful adjustment; we can hardly adjust to that which we decline to experience.” (p 28)

[Description of cycle of withdrawal, p 32]

“… each of us expects that everyone else is just like us. We expect everyone to behave as we do (the source of Type I incidents), and we assume we behave like everyone else (the source of Type II incidents).” (p 48)

“Another point about our conditioning is that it operates subconsciously; we are not aware that we harbor these innumerable expectations about how people are going to behave.” (p 51)

[Adjustment to the feelings of aversion we may have when confronted with a new culture must happen immediately when they occur. Be aware of the feelings] (p 58-59)

“… when we … realize that we have become agitated not because of something the Tunisians have done to us but because of what we, by expecting them to be like us, have done to ourselves, then the power of this realization neutralizes much of our frustration.” (p 59)

[When we divert our attention to the feelings and the realization of the cause, the we can begin to observe and experience the situation instead of reacting to it.] (p 59)

“We cannot experience and react to a situation simultaneously.” (p 59)


“We expect others to be like us, but they aren’t. ->

Thus, a cultural incident occurs, ->

causing a reaction (anger, fear, etc.), ->

We become aware of our reaction. ->

We reflect on its cause. ->

And our reaction subsides. ->

We observe the situation, ->

which results in developing culturally appropriate expectations.” (p 61-62)

“In fact there is nothing more we can do to solve the puzzle of Type II incidents other than to keep applying the technique of awareness we have already described. It is through this method, after all, that we learn what to expect of the natives in various situations. And the way the local people behave in any given situation is, of course, how we should behave.” (p 72)

“Going native is as inappropriate and unhealthy a response to the overseas experience as disappearing into the expatriate subculture.” (p 81)

“We have seen in these pages that human beings, for all their differences, share certain powerful beliefs and that among these is the conviction that all other human beings are just like them. In the main, this is good. In fact, it is more than good, for this conviction sustains the element of predictability that makes most human interaction possible.” (p 105)

“The trouble with other cultures is that the people don’t behave the way they’re supposed to, that is, like us. The solution to this difficulty is to stop expecting them to.” (p 107)

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