Global Leadership Activities – Pre-Program

Activity 4: Your Cultural Identity

How It Works

This activity builds on the preceding activities and invites you to think more about how your perspectives are shaped by your life experiences and personal cultural identity. This will prepare you to start recognizing and appreciating cultural differences in others.

How You Do It

  • Take a look at the Cultural Identity Wheel worksheet by clicking HERE , and print the wheel if at all possible.
  • Fill in the different sections with phrases that you identify with or relate to. For example, in the family section, someone might write “daughter” or “brother” or “eldest child.”
  • Use your wheel to create a full picture of your personal and cultural identity, but there is no need to fill in every section if you don’t feel that it applies to you.
  • Once you have completed the wheel, ask yourself the following questions, such as:
    • What, if anything, surprised you during this activity?
    • How might your social identity shape your perspective?
    • How do you think sharing elements of your identity in a different cultural context could affect how people interact with you? For example, certain cultures may be sensitive to specific religions or nationalities and may react in a particular way – be it positively or negatively –  if they learn about this part of your identity. Can you think of other examples?

Take Away Points

  • An awareness of the cultural patterns and identities that shape your perspective will help you to notice the cultural patterns of people you meet while you’re abroad.
  • Everyone is comprised of unique cultural and personal elements even when we may come from the same "culture" or nation.
  • You will need to make choices about how and with whom you share certain elements of your cultural identity. This is your decision, but you should be aware of how your identity and perspective could be perceived by people from another culture.
  • While it can be strange to think of ourselves as having a cultural identity that essentially shapes the way we see the world, approaching this idea with curiosity and openness will allow you to see new perspectives more easily.