CROSS-CULTURAL ASPECTS OF MENTORING – A PATH FRAUGHT WITH RISKS

Last week I gave a talk on the cross-cultural aspects of mentoring at the Diverse Women Mentorship Association induction workshop. I told the participants that the mentor-mentee relationship is a cross-encounter, and drew their attention to the multi-faceted aspects of diversity. I also told them that a cross-cultural encounter has higher risks than a mono-cultural one. For example, it is easier to offend and do the wrong things, often through ignorance of the other person’s culture. Sometimes, it could be embarrassing, for example, when I was invited to my very first Aussie party back in 1963, I was told to bring a plate so I brought along an empty plate! As a teenager then, I was mortified with my mistake! From where I came from (Malaysia), no one was ever told to bring food when they were invited to a party!

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