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Cultural Iceberg

In 1976, Edward T. Hall (an Anthropologist) suggested that culture was similar to an iceberg.

He proposed that culture has two components and that only about 10% of culture (external or surface culture) is easily visible; the majority, or 90%, of culture (internal or deep culture) is hidden below the surface.

When we first arrive in a new culture (or similarly a new town, village, city, state) we only see the top 10% of the iceberg (the tip of the iceberg!).

This 10% is the easily visible parts like fashion, food, language, arts, etc...People may make assumptions about the new culture based on where you have come from. If it's an English speaking country, we may assume everyone is the same as "back home".

This is seldom the case, and as time moves on we begin to see aspects of deeper culture of the place we have chosen to move. In the new culture if we don't try to integrate into some of the deeper culture, we may find it is a struggle.

I will share first. I was at a party asking for an explanation on celsius and kilometres... My friend said to me, Kimberly.. you just need to forget what you know, stop comparing and learn what 38 celsius is (hot!). Learn the new system. Don't forget the old one but never, compare. This advice helped me a lot!

My apologies... I went a little over the top with the fish in this design, but you know what I am like...

Have you seen the tip of the iceberg and then the deeper culture?

How did you integrate into your new culture?

Did you mess up?

What did you learn about yourself?

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