We envision a world where open-minded people actively embrace globalization through their ability to think and feel globally. Their confidence is based on their ‘third culture’ abilities that they have developed through ‘culture shock’ training. In our workshops, we train and equip you with the key skills to become a truly global citizen. Global minds for a global world.
Globalization of business, finance, travel, food, clothes, construction, engineering and science is complete. Globalization of people has just begun and its challenges
(migration, integration and cultural diversity) are complex if they are dealt with one-by-one. However, they all have one thing in common: the feeling of ‘culture shock’ that can be so light that
we barely notice it or so strong that it triggers fear. People who have developed a ‘third culture’ are able to enjoy ‘culture shock’, while people who have not had the opportunity to do so react
with helplessness, fear and sometimes anger. Therefore, people with ‘third culture’ skills actively participate in globalization while
others feel excluded (Int. Journal of Intercultural Relations 45 (2015):56-69).
Culture shock is that uncomfortable, scary feeling that people may experience when their social skills fall short in culturally new environments. Most of our social skills are acquired during our formative years as children. The earlier they are acquired the deeper engrained they become.
Humans are social beings. Therefore we depend on our social skills to prevent aggression, express care and build trust with one another. When our social skills fail, we loose the genuine connection to our fellow human beings and experience a psychological stress (‘culture stress’).
We all experience ‘culture stress’ several times per day and most of us without being aware of it because we have not been trained in recognizing ‘culture shock’. Therefore, ‘culture stress’ has become an important factor of our overall stress level without us being able to address it.
While culture shock is a perfectly natural reaction, the inability to deal with it negatively impacts on our psychological and physical health. At IDRG our goal is to offer an opportunity to people to develop the ability to understand and recognize ‘culture shock’ and to overcome ‘culture stress’ by connecting scientific knowledge with real life experience.
A ‘third culture’ is the unique blend of behaviours, values and beliefs that an individual develops who lives in more than one culture for an extended period of time and experiences this time in a positive way (Int. Journal of Intercultural relations 35 (2011): 686-694). According to estimates about half of the world population has already begun to develop a ‘third culture’ and is ready to actively engage and participate in our globalized world. At IDRG, we help you to develop ‘third culture’ skills at your own pace, in a safe environment and in a language that you are comfortable with.
People who have been raised in more than one culture (also called ‘Third Culture Kids’ or
TCKs) have developed a personal mix of cultural characteristics by combining the values that they feel most comfortable with. Contrary to concerns of the past, they
are not rootless and lonely, but in fact feel very close to other TCKs and are ideally prepared for globalization. (Int. Journal of
Intercultural relations 36 (2012): 553-562)
As adults we can still acquire ‘third culture’ skills when we learn what culture shock feels like and practice to overcome it. Through developing these skills we get ready to migrate and integrate, to enjoy diversity and multiculturalism, to reduce our stress level and in general become more crisis-resistant while maintaining our identity.
In our courses, we begin with a brief introduction to what is known about ‘culture shock’. For the remainder of the session, we guide you through real life examples and adventures. We help you to recognise ‘culture shock’ and to cope with it, and then support you to find your way to whole-heartedly embrace cultural diversity. In the end, you will have replaced your worries about what might happen with excitement and longing for more.
We use stories about events from other cultures that you will try to understand together with your teammates. When you have reached a common understanding you will strive together to find a solution for the task at hand and then communicate it to the other groups in the course. As your coach, we will be there to guide you along every step of the way.
The stories that we use in our courses address day-to-day topics such as food, health, transportation, communication, relationships, education, work, security, finance, politics and art.
All stories are sorted by their level of difficulty and are presented to you in a way so that you will understand them, and successfully resolve any challenge they present. Our courses use stories at different levels of difficulty.
In our 1-day workshops we provide you with the opportunity to experience daily life in other cultures, to overcome challenges, to resolve problems in an unfamiliar social environment, and to develop the skills that are needed to think and feel globally. The courses are further divided into levels 1-5.
We provide an intellectual and emotional understanding of ‘culture shock’ and numerous opportunities to experience this feeling. Our tools are stories of real life in other cultures under normal and crisis situations, laughter, understanding and encouragement.
For those who prefer to get a preview of the training, we offer 2-hour events during which we provide an intellectual and emotional understanding of ‘culture shock’ so that people can experience the feelings associated with it and are better prepared to decide if they are ready for more training.
You can take a quick self-assessment test that allows you to evaluate your state of mind before you engage in ‘culture shock’ training. With our special questionnaire you can assess your current level of ‘third culture’ abilities and explore potential goals.
Since UN troops have been sent out on peacekeeping missions, there have been tragic events where the peacekeepers turned into a threat to the local population that they had been sent to protect. In 1994, Canadian soldiers were charged in court because of their actions in Somalia in 1993. More important than these legal actions, was the decision that the Canadian army took to provide their soldiers with ‘culture shock’ training that would provide them with the skills necessary to support themselves when their own moral and social values are under attack. In 1995, we provided the Canadian Army with a three-week course based on our own training and experience.
More than 20 years ago, the educational system woke up to the task of preparing students for life in a globalized world. This meant that geography and history lessons had to be restructured to include culture lessons. For teachers who had never lived and worked abroad this task was daunting. An increasing number of their students were Third Culture Kids (TCK) or would later go abroad to become Third Culture Adults (TCA) while they, the teachers, typically had not left their home countries other than as tourists. As a result, teachers decided to kick-start their own TCI development by taking our 1- to 2-day courses in ‘culture shock’ in Canada.
Many international projects, business developments and activities of the diplomatic corps have failed not because the intentions were wrong but because the people who were tasked with the job were not able to deliver due to the lack of ‘third culture’ skills. When we fail to make proper social connections, we feel threatened. Therefore, with the goal to achieve self-reliance in any culture, people who intend to live and work abroad prepare by starting to develop a ‘third culture’ prior to their departure. We have held 1- to 2-day courses for such expatriates organized by museums of civilization.
4. General Public
Civil society is not only active in social networks but also works in local groups where members share common goals. Frequently, when these goals touch on topics of global interests, group members realize that thinking and feeling globally before acting locally is a highly needed skill. For our 1-day courses for such local social groups we select stories that relate to the topics they want to address.
High school and University students often travel abroad in connection with their studies. For such studies to be successful not only socially but also academically, it is vital for these students to be well prepared. Books and the Internet provide a lot of valuable information on climate, laws, diets and traditions but do not provide personal experience. Because of this lack of preparedness many students break off their stay or return home with a negative view of the country that hosted them. Young students can be better prepared for their experience abroad through our training prior to their departure. Our course content is naturally adjusted for students to match their age (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 108(5) (2015):767-783.
Hi, I am Imme. I am also a TCA (Third Culture Adult). This means I developed my ‘third culture’ as an adult, through living and working in six different countries across three continents. My first introduction to ‘culture shock’ I received from the Swiss government in 1989 before I was sent out to work in Madagascar. This training allowed me to live ‘culture shock’ as an overall positive experience. The most dramatic events therein turned out to become an enrichment to my self-efficiency. My training and experience, have prepared me to be an active, forward-looking, social and creative player in our globalized world.
Hi, I am Jacques. I am a Canadian scientist who has lived in 6 countries across 3 different continents. I loved the diversity between these cultures and thrived in them. Therefore, I think of myself as a third culture adult (TCA). In my experience, the exchange of knowledge is rarely a problem. However, intercultural abilities are never a given. Because of this, supporting each and everyone to develop their ‘third culture’ abilities has become a mission for me and I always look forward to the many “aha!” moments that take place during our workshops.
I am a believer of inclusivity through diversity. Having been enculturated in different ideologies and cultural contexts, I have experienced and witnessed how challenging and yet crucial it is to minimize exclusions of minorities. Perhaps, it is the reason why I have been choosing to build bridges between the majorities and the minorities with the belief that the in-between spaces are where we can all continue to grow.
Imme Gerke, Jacques Drolet
Konsul-Smidt Str. 56 and 92
Imme Gerke, Jacques Drolet
Cell Phone Imme +49 (0) 176 6348 8606
Cell Phone Jacques +49 (0) 176 6348 8704
Phone +49 (0) 421 3987 9138
Fax +49 (0) 421 3987 9139