The cultural iceberg

This is a useful model for conceptualizing cultural differences:

I might quibble with the placement of some of the items — for example, body language, gestures [insert Italian joke here], and concepts of cleanliness should probably be above the waterline… but it’s a good place to start.

Americans have a bad habit of assuming that because people in country X drink Starbucks coffee, use iPhones and eagerly consume American pop culture, they are becoming “Americanized” or “Westernized,” when in fact, all that is being observed is a partial transformation of the top of the iceberg.

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