Cultural Immersion

At Knowledge Must we develop culturally-fluent individuals with the personal impact and skills to perform when working with or in another culture. The aim of our Cultural Immersion Solutions is to instil cultural fluency in our clients, i.e. not only knowing, but doing the right things at the right time. Please learn more about how we assist you to fully immerse yourself, and get inspired by our sample range of immersion activities and choose the activities you would like to include in your personal cultural immersion experience. We ensure that all activities are combined in the optimal way and that you make the most of the resulting synergies. Just get in touch with us to learn more!

Background

Mankind can be divided into different religions, different languages, different dresses, and so on, but ultimately we all belong to the same human family. Still, it is highly necessary to develop an understanding of our differences in order to successfully communicate and collaborate across cultural boundaries. Cultures entail differences in perspectives. They can be perceived as the personal baggage one brings into any situation. Since culture constitutes the cornerstone of our identities, that is who we think we are, the ways we make meaning, what is important to us and how, it is also a key source of conflicts between people. Despite their crucial importance, cultural variables are still widely neglected today. As a result, the many avoidable cultural conflicts that plague the world are met with often tragically ineffectual efforts to forestall specific outcomes.

One of the detrimental outcomes is culture shock. It can profoundly affect a person, especially when they are living in another country for a long period of time, which is also referred to as “culture stress”. Culture shock and stress often result when an individual tries to work and live outside of their regular cultural context. Symptoms, including depression, low self-esteem, and ineffective work, are often denied or attributed to different causes. Ultimately only cultural immersion alleviates these symptoms, but this can be difficult to achieve without adequate study, training, exposure, and application.

At Knowledge Must, we offer exciting and in-depth cultural immersion experiences that will allow you to benefit from the diversity of others' cultural backgrounds. You will learn to become more aware of cultural differences through education, training, experience, travel, and work. In the process you will gain a deeper understanding of a very different culture and of yourself by living as a member of a local community, participating in experiential learning activities, and actively engaging the local culture.

Knowledge Must's approach is rooted in a universal understanding of disparate intercultural relations, as well as being informed by local values. What we know and think impacts the reality that we live in. So, if we want to change our life, we need to stretch our mind. Come and let us reinvent reality together!

Immerse Yourself

Ancient scholars already highlighted the importance of experiential education. For example, the Chinese sage Confucius is often quoted as: "I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand". Only personal experience through all senses results in a sustainable understanding of other cultures. Learning by doing is the ultimate in intercultural learning.

A little cultural knowledge goes a long way. This truism however does not imply that a few tips here and anecdotes there, and a couple of pleasant exercises thrown in, do provide an effective method to learn about other cultures. Precise and relevant knowledge is needed to adapt and learn quickly when working in or with the target culture. Cultural immersion as simply being amongst people of another culture, with knowledge of local culture and language following naturally, appears rather naive. To successfully immerse yourself in another culture you need to develop cultural fluency.

Entering a culture is the development of an avid hunger for knowledge and beauty. With our support you will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively operate across cultures. Develop the will, conquer your fears, and learn for life!

 

Why Immerse Yourself?

"Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit." - Jawaharlal Nehru

Immersing yourself in another culture is arguably one of the most rewarding efforts a human can undertake. Imagine yourself being a child again - comparably steep is the learning curve. By immersing yourself in another culture, you multiply your opportunities. By successfully functioning in a strange environment and under a different set of ground rules from those found in your own culture you tremendously expand your experience. It is for those individuals who have the courage and energy to make the most out of it.

  • Opportunity to broaden your professional experience:
    • Build up a powerful CV
    • Gain exposure to different work streams
    • Prepare for global developments
    • Make more money
    • Great way to network
    • Endless career opportunities
  • Experience a life in a different culture:
    • Fulfil your personal interests in another culture
    • Satisfy your curiosity and sense of adventure
    • Look for new challenges or simply a change
  • Discover yourself:
    • Deeper awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses
    • Increased self-confidence
    • Train your resilience
  • See things from another point of view:
    • Opportunity to increase cultural knowledge
    • Develop your own intercultural competencies for operating internationally
    • Heightened knowledge of effective approaches to other human beings
    • Broaden global perspectives
    • Acquire a new vision

 

What Are the Obstacles?

“Problems become opportunities if the right people come together” – Robert South

An alien cultural setting can be extremely demanding. You will have to communicate in a new language while finding new, culturally appropriate strategies to seek out interactions. What is common to one culture may seem strange, counterintuitive, or appalling to another. Language barriers and cultural differences will move you beyond your comfort zone and might result in feeling isolated and frustrated. However, overcoming these obstacles will create borderless opportunities for you.

  • Fear of: 
    • The "other"
    • The "unknown"
    • Physical safety
    • Diseases
    • Nutrition problems
    • Being alone
    • Making mistakes
    • Loss of face
    • Leaving behind family, friends, job, and security
    • Loss of identity
    • Not being able to settle back to one's own culture
  • Hardships:
    • Stress, frustration, and anxiety
    • Unwillingness to change
    • Lethargy
    • Inconvenience
  • Constraints:
    • Bureaucratic hurdles
    • Finances
    • Limited time

 

What is Required?

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” - Thomas Edison

Success comes naturally when you realise your opportunities. In fact, your opportunities start to multiply as you seize them. To be able to pursue your desire and reach out to other cultures, tenacity and resilience are indispensable. If you bring along courage and flexibility, then we can prepare you for this challenge. Fear melts when you take action towards a goal you really want. Our knowledge is the best antidote to fear, uncertainty, and disinformation.

  • Motivation:
    • Determination to pursue your particular goals
    • Awareness of the unique chance
    • Eagerness to learn
    • Curiosity to engage on a journey of knowledge discovery
    • Will to go beyond your comfort zone
    • Resoluteness to keep striving to immerse yourself further and further
    • Courage
    • Audacity to experiment
    • Resilience to deal with inevitable setbacks
  • Respect:
    • Willing to engage other cultures and participate in them
    • Acceptance of other customs and traditions
    • Critical reflection on your own culture
    • Communicative awareness
    • Willingness to question yourself, make compromises, adapt, and integrate
    • Behavioural flexibility
    • Tolerance of ambiguity
    • Ability to deal with ambiguous situations constructively
    • Appreciation for otherness
    • Empathy
  • Commitment:
    • Time
    • Patience
    • Open eyes and an open mind to see and comprehend differences
    • Finances

Our Immersion Solutions

Knowledge Must's fully customised Cultural Immersion Solutions are designed to provide life-changing experiences that bring out the best in everyone. They build knowledge, provide the required tools, give confidence, empower people, and contribute to global understanding. With our support participants will gain broad experience in a challenging environment where learning and having impact are the primary rewards. The ultimate goal of our Immersion Solutions is to give participants an opportunity to learn about local life by really experiencing it themselves.

Our tailor-made Cultural Immersion Solutions are an effective combination of unique work and study experiences, focused language instruction, skills training, travel, and cultural activities, all in one holistic, synergistic programme. Custom designed programmes offer you full flexibility as well as breadth and depth in experience. What is more, all our activities are carefully contextualised within your larger learning goals so that they systematically reinforce each other. You can fully flexibly select out of the complete service palette offered by Knowledge Must's five divisions and can consult us to design your individual full-fledged package.

Core components in your individual programme can include:

  • Explore and learn local culture through studying and working (e.g. do an internship, work on a professional assignment, or follow courses at university)
  • Language training (e.g. start with an intensive course, then classes two-three times a week accompanying your study and work experience)
  • Learn about geography, history, food, language, arts, people, and traditions (e.g. by following an intercultural training tailored to your specific interests)
  • Study and research collaboratively with local experts and students (e.g. by joining scientific exploration groups)
  • Travel through the breadth of local culture and experience diversity (e.g. on special focus study tours as well as relaxed weekend outings)
  • Live with local hosts for a richer experience of culture (e.g. in a homestay with a hearty family)
  • Join in a celebration of local arts and traditions (e.g. attend music concerts and local festivals)

Our unique Cultural Immersion Solutions cater to adventurous individuals from all walks of life: students, professionals, entrepreneurs, outdoor enthusiasts, culture buffs, and more. If you have a passion for outdoor adventure, want to serve people in need, or are looking for deeply engaging cultural opportunities, we will design your immersion experience accordingly. Just let us know about your interests and objectives. Some of the components you might choose for your individual Immersion Solution might be very challenging. For example, living in a remote tribal village in India can imply plenty of hardships. You must expect the unexpected and be mentally flexible.

We can also assist you in finding appropriate housing accommodations. Homestays are arranged in urban as well as in rural environments and typically include a single bedroom with breakfast. You have the opportunity to experience the culture as a local by living with a family and participating in daily rituals. According to requirements, we arrange opportunities for sharing accommodations. On weekends, you can either enjoy the locality or choose to participate in trips we organise to the countryside and neighbouring cities. There are also informal outings for participants to eat together in popular local restaurants or go on a shopping spree in the bazaar.

Please enquire with us to learn how we can assist you in your Cultural Immersion.

Short-Cut Immersion

Knowledge Must offers special Short-Cut Cultural Immersion Solutions to get you up-to-speed in your target culture. You will learn the key tools for dealing with the country and its people in the shortest time frame, e.g. regarding bargaining, dress, asserting yourself, and playing the system. They are especially compact trainings for fitting all the essentials into a very short time frame for all individuals with very little time on their hands. These concise programmes are suited for short-term visitors to the country, for example, tourists and business people.

Tailored to your individual objectives and itineraries, we customise your comprehensive programme offering you a uniquely intimate and profound intercultural experience through homestays, cultural trainings, language coaching, educational excursions, and more.

Benefits of Short-Cut Cultural Immersion Programmes:

  • Get up to speed on your destination culture
  • Be enabled to travel fully independently
  • Benefit from lifetimes of experiences of other people who came before you
  • Spend less precious time on sorting out your logistics 
  • Safe money
  • Enjoy your experience even more
  • Open your eyes to the realities around you
  • Be accepted and respected by the locals

Immerse yourself in:

  • India and spice up your life!
  • China and tap its ancient wisdom!

Please enquire with us to learn how we can make you achieve your Cultural Immersion in a minimum amount of time.

Methodology

Throughout the years we at Knowledge Must have developed unique methods to help others learn and apply skills that rapidly result in successful immersion, and thereby lead to professional success and personal fulfilment, in another culture or among others from different cultures. We guide clients on their personal path to Cultural Immersion, from creating cultural awareness, over enabling independent cultural navigation, leading to full immersion in another culture.

Every time you deal with people from other cultures, in your own country or abroad, you create opportunities to improve your intercultural skills. Tolerance, the acceptance of differences with which you disagrees or are unfamiliar, will be the first in a progression of steps that leads to your individual immersion. Each of our five divisions tackles culture head on and supports your every step on this journey. Gradually the ways you view the world and interact with people, whose worldviews differ greatly from your own, changes.

How we guide you towards immersion? We contribute to this process by enabling you to:

  • Enjoy authentic cultural environments
  • Gain personal experience
  • Work and study among people of diverse background
  • Network across cultural boundaries
  • Reflect on your own culture 
  • Engage in intense language study
  • Meet people from other cultures and be prepared to learn about their different systems of values, norms, and behaviour
  • Follow the customs and etiquette of your hosts
  • Learn about the cultural environment (such as history, religion, and society)
  • Attend intercultural trainings
  • Live with local families 
  • Have meaningful interactions with local communities

Knowledge Must's Cultural Immersion Solutions create all these opportunities for you and more, based on a learner-centred, competency-based teaching methodology. We begin with what you already know and all activities are designed to maximise your participation in the highly experiential learning process. Experiential education results in outcomes that simply cannot be achieved through books, reports, lectures, discussions, and tests alone. There is much more to life and learning than sitting passively in a classroom and listening to the monologues of experts.

Our function is to make your journey of discovery possible, and encourage a sense of adventure, a willingness to get-out-there-and-do-it, and a determination to seek out learning. We stimulate your cultural learning, and awareness and generate an increased interest in your target culture. We believe a genuine interest and curiosity toward other cultures is essential for bridging cultures and interacting effectively with a variety of individuals. That is why we make an extra effort to formulate the methodology and activities so that much of the content on the topic areas comes from you.

We strongly believe that there is something in every culture for arousing the curiosity of anybody. We help you to identify what that could be for you and provide the access, whether it is religious festivals or popular culture. If you know and enjoy what you do, integration will follow naturally.

 

Connecting Factors

We assist you in planting seeds of cultural interest in your everyday life that can stimulate an interest in a more in-depth and well-rounded understanding of another culture. Being able to discuss national politics, cook regional delicacies or talk about local blockbusters may not necessarily lead to more success when working with your hosts. But they are great starting points to nurture more meaningful relations. They also show your commitment to your host culture and generate respect towards your immersion endeavour.

At Knowledge Must we realise how hard it is to compete with popular culture when it comes to people's attention and free time. Instead of considering mainstream culture trivial, we see it as a unique opportunity to combine ongoing interests with challenging but fun activities. Learning from the comfort of the activities you know and like, you will enjoy your intercultural development as a foundation for more in-depth growth.

Mainstream culture products, from art, movies, music, and books, and favourite pastimes, like food, travel, and playing sports, assist you in your cultural immersion:

  • Books: We recommend you a vast variety of literature covering your field of interest.
  • Movies: We help you to explore the world of moving images.
  • Music: We make you experience your favourite kind of music.
  • Cuisine: We show you how to prepare and enjoy the regional cuisine. Prepare cha like the Chinese tea masters, mix the perfect masala for your Indian chai, or learn to enjoy coffee like in Vienna.
  • Travel: We guide you to the places where you can get the maximum exposure to your fields of interest.
  • Sports: We assist you in finding fun sports.
  • Exercise regimes: We introduce you to a wide range of meaningful exercise regimes. For example, study Yoga and Kalaripayattu in India, or Taijiquan, Qigong, and Kungfu in China.

Please contact us to learn how we can connect you to other cultures.

Sample Activities

We invite you to browse through our sample of activities that you might like to have included in your individual Cultural Immersion Solution. These are simply for your inspiration as we customise each solution for every individual client. Full customisation of our solutions is especially important due to the differences in learning styles, previous experience, and specific objectives. Our activities are based upon the best that our five company divisions have to offer. Depending on your particular field of interest and your individual objectives, activities included in our Cultural Immersion Solutions may consist of:

Career Must:

  • Career counselling
  • Professional revision of application documents
  • Study abroad, internship, volunteer, or job placement in your field of interest

Language Must:

  • Intensive language course
  • Language immersion camp

Training Must:

  • Site visits to academic institutes, NGOs, factories, etc.
  • Lectures
  • Trainings

Travel Must:

  • Organised weekend activities
  • Excursions with a focus on specific cultural items
  • Study tours to sites of major religious, cultural, and historic interest
  • Accommodation 
  • Meals
  • Transport arrangements

Culture Must:

  • Intercultural events
  • Networking opportunities

The activities we offer in our Cultural Immersion Solutions are tremendously varied and are designed to cultivate the whole person. Based on our extraordinary network we are able to offer you unique immersion opportunities whatever your particular interests are. We make it a point to conduct your experiential learning experience in the most authentic settings, e.g. study religion with a Hindu guru in India, a Muslim mullah in Pakistan, or a Buddhist shifu in China.

Specific cultural activities you might like to explore include:

  • Arts and crafts including pottery, painting, and textiles
  • Visual and performing arts including dance, drama, puppet shows, storytelling, and visits to local folk artists 
  • Architecture and design including field-trips to local palaces, gardens, historic buildings, and other sites of architectural interest
  • Religion

Get in touch with us to learn what kind of Cultural Immersion Activities would best suit your needs. Prepare to immerse yourself in another world!

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Enquire about Our Cultural Immersion Solutions

To enquire about our cultural immersion solutions, please fill out our online form by clicking the button below, or send an email to info(at)knowledge-must.com including your personal information and any documents you deem helpful for us to asses you. Thank you!