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Getting the most out of the EXPLORING CULTURE activities

Beginning Language Learner:

  • Start with the observation activities.
  • Do the exercises with nationals who speak English.
  • Interview a variety of local people of various ages and circumstances; the greater the variety, the richer the information.
  • Don’t try to interpret or make value judgments about what you are told. For the present, the purpose is to collect information.
  • As you gain conversational ability move to interviewing in the new language.
  • Ask your tutor or language helper to assist you in translating these exercises into simple sentences you can use to gather information.
  • As you take notes include new vocabulary you pick up during the conversation.
  • Keep a running list of new vocab words. A small notebook you can keep in your pocket is a great way to record and practice the new vocabulary you are learning.
  • Organize your notebook into topical sections, such as “food,” “furniture,” “occupations,” etc. for easy retrieval.

Intermediate Language Learner

  • Ask your tutor or language helper for a list of vocabulary words you will need to for the interview.
  • Begin to add phrases from the language you are learning to your interview notes.
  • Use those phrases in other conversations and pay attention to the reactions of those you converse with.


We recommend the following process, for you to get the greatest benefit from these culture exploration activities.

Step 1: Prepare for the exercise by getting help in choosing a location to observe, deciding on a person to interview and getting help from a tutor/language helper (translation or vocabulary.)

Step 2: Do the culture exploration activity and make rough notes as you go along.

Step 3: Convert the notes into an Activity Report. Use sentences and describe what was observed or the conversation that took place.

Step 4: Debrief the experience with your mentor/coach or whoever was assigned to debrief you.

Step 5: Identify related questions that need additional consideration and determine what further investigation needs to be done. Sometimes further investigation will come in later culture exploration activities but outstanding questions should still be identified and noted at this time.

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