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Essay on Cultural Plunges




People all around the globe have different cultures as compared to others. However, all of them have been treated equally and equal opportunity is provided to all of them when it comes to any situation. But the process of reaching the position to achieve something is a journey full of differentiation for the people who are different from the majority of the people in any sense. The impact of such differentiation is so drastic that it starts filling the minds of the person suffering from a sense of inferiority that affects the efficiency of the child. During the school, if any child is compelled to go through such behaviour then in such condition, the view of the child towards the person oppressing him shall always be filled with rage and anger.

Essay on Cultural Plunges

I learned about the interest that people have in wanting to connect. The more I was willing to share about myself, the more those I met reflected that same sharing sentiment. When I expressed that I have been assigned the task to explore the experiences of the people then I was told about personal educational experiences. When I stated that I was not from the area, people shared with me their stories of immigration. People wanted to connect on a personal level; moreover, they wanted to be accepted by a community. The restaurant was providing an informal meeting space for community members to gather. In the restaurant, people comported that they were safe and comfortable. They were building relationships with each other and committing to social norms, such as acceptable ways to interact with other members of their community and people from outside of their community.

To be out of one’s context is disorienting. There is a sense of uncertainty. There is a lack of understanding. There is a prolonged realization of subtle subtext that translates to mishandled opportunities. For children, such abstract ideas may be beyond their grasp. It, therefore, becomes necessary for educators to support students who are experiencing difficulty in navigating the unfamiliar social environment that is their school (Houser, 2009). This paper will delve into the cultural learning tool of cultural plunges, chronicle a cultural plunge taken by the author, and reflect upon the experience of the aforementioned cultural plunge.

Cultural understanding is the most obvious area of growth in a cultural plunge. The culture of a group, which could include the history of a region of the world, achievements, struggles, philosophy, language, food, music, and art, support the formation of group identity. It stands to reason that a person’s worldview is influenced by the group identities of which he or she is a member. An outsider’s genuine effort to learn and connect with others in the context of their culture can be received as a vulnerability to place one’s self at a social disadvantage. A disadvantage in this manner, however, may lead to a better understanding of the problems caused by cultural incongruity.

Cultural incongruity is the ignorance of other cultures’ social norms and the ensuing inobservance. When actions are taken that fail to uphold social norms, the person may be viewed as being offensive or intensive. However, if the person is merely ignorant of other people’s social norms, he or she is missing a nuanced form of communication. The assumption that all people have the same social norms is at the heart of cultural incongruity. Moreover, the inability to read social cues can adversely impact successful communication; communication such as hand gestures, facial expressions, and colloquialisms are subtler and can cause a cacophony of misunderstanding. When individuals are unfamiliar with the appropriate manner of interaction, then attempts to be vulnerable could escape those who are socially incongruent. The individual could be viewed as unable to be trusted and no relationships can be forged.

The intentional attention to a culture other than the observers can be a journey of self- discovery. An astute observer will compare and contrast. In the course of studying social situations, the practice of such analysis will have the observer compare and contrast what is observed with his or her social self. The positive interactions of others may be applied to the observer’s life. The observed negative interactions will be avoided in the observer’s life. All understood through the actions of other people who might make different choices than the observer and therefore place themselves in different situations than the observer.

The absence of an exercise, such as a cultural plunge, perpetuates the misconception there is only one culture worth understanding. Nieto observed that “The sad fact is that many European American students in my classes have usually managed to avoid ever going into a setting where the predominant ethnicity is different from their own, and many students of colour have socialized primarily with members of their ethnic group” (2006, p. 80). In the context of homogeneous cultural groups, there is no opportunity to experience cultural understanding, cultural incongruity, and self-awareness.

As a direct result of my cultural plunge, I more clearly understand the importance of placing a stronger emphasis on relationship building. The relationships that are forged between stakeholders yield a shared identity. The community’s shared identity comprises the building blocks of culture. In the interactions with community members, individuals learn about others and their personal life situations, which can invoke empathy for others.

Upon talking with the interviewee about my cultural plunge, I was able to examine my experience from different perspectives. The ideals that were held by him were confident statements at first; however, he became moderately unsure of his position as the conversations progressed. I explained to him the concept of a cultural plunge and shared about my past cultural plunges. I then asked him if he felt the exercise was useful.

The person with whom I spoke listened to the explanation of cultural plunges and my experience. He then told me that he use to teach in a school in an area that had a sizable minority population. Students of this minority group tended to be guarded in their interactions. The students did not misbehave, but they were not fully engaged in their classes or school-related activities. He overheard them talking about a church that seemed to be a central part of the community, so he chose to attend a church service one weekend. He relayed that the experience was disorienting because he was not able to follow along with the service; it would have been clear to an observer that he was unaware of the basic components of the service. He felt that he had no better understanding of the community or his students as a direct result of his visit. He explained that, from this one visit, surprisingly, his students dropped their guard in his classroom. He was able to communicate more effectively with his students as well. Students talked with him about his visit for months. He felt that he earned a degree of respect from his students because they felt that he cared about them. I told him that the first person with whom I spoke had the opinion that people do not go outside of their comfort areas. He asked me if I thought that was true, and he seemed concerned about the idea.

Knowing the differences and believing that differences exist are very different concepts to understand. To more completely understand a community, one needs to experience the community. Furthermore, encouraging others to understand one another implies encouraging shared experiences. If people have a strong relationship with you they are more likely to consider your perspective. My next steps are to encourage interaction across social groups. This encouragement starts with students working in heterogeneous cultural groups and encouraging positive and open conversations about various perspectives. It is also relevant to encourage study abroad and other cultural exchange programs to support immersion with peer groups across the globe. On a person-to-person basis, I will encourage that people become more acquainted with the minority groups in their communities by visiting social centres that take people outside of their cultural background.


For the non-discriminatory, there is the promise of unique vistas into the previously concealed culture, opportunity, and oneself. Taking on the exercise of a cultural plunge is a worthwhile activity for everyone. The frequency of cultural plunging is directly proportional to the opportunity for understanding. With more understanding of communities other than one's own comes the opportunity for empathy and social justice.



Houser, N. (2009). Cultural plunge: A critical approach to multicultural development in teacher education. Race Ethnicity and Education. 11. 1470-109. DOI: 10.1080/13613320802479034.

Nieto, J. (2006). The cultural plunge: cultural immersion as a means of promoting self- awareness and cultural sensitivity among student teachers. Teacher Education Quarterly, 33(1), 75-84. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ795210

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