We all need cultural competence every day but most of us do not know it. The good point is we all have the basics already but we need to improve our cultural competence for better understanding of one another.

What is Culture?

Culture in the wider sense of the word is a way of thinking, acting and feeling of a group of people at a given time and place. Whether you know it or not, you are a member of dozens if not hundreds of different groups, both physical and virtual. Any contact with someone else is influenced by culture. Culture in the narrow sense of the word, the arts, may be considered as an expression of culture in that wider sense or an opposition to it.

What is Cultural Competence?

A competence is an integral combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Cultural competence then encompasses the required knowledge of culture, the necessary skills and the desirable attitudes to deal with culture. In addition to the cultural competence you need experience, but again, we all have some.

Mind-map of Culture

This website is based on a mind-map of culture with over 100 topics. When you click on the tab mind-map, you see the core of the mind-map. By clicking on a topic on the right, you go more in depth. Clicking on a topic on the left moves you up. On each of the labels you see three icons. One shows a summary of the topic in question, another quotes on the topic (showing the practice) and the third shows an exercise or a question to reflect on the topic.

Also Available

The first tab shows a world map. By clicking on a state you see quotes on the culture of that state. Under Media you find information on the book Encyclopedia of Culture, the hyperlinks to books and short animated videos and the link to the presentations.

Documentation provides more detailed information (additional to the information in the mind-map) and the background of this website. A key element of this background is the experience of cultural differences of 849 students from 53 states while living and working abroad (MA programmes on European integration at Maastricht University). We also welcome the debate on content, even if only the debate will never result in consensus! You may reach the editor, Pieter van Nispen, through this website, LinkedIn, Facebook, the Facebook page Encyclopedia of Culture or the LinkedIn company page SITO in LinkedIn.