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Culture and Identity

Join an upcoming workshop (September 2023 – May 2024) from the UC-systemwide collaboration among the UC Study Abroad offices and UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP): Exploring Your Identity Abroad Series.

As you explore, observe, participate, and expand your world views, it’s important to recognize that elements of culture influence who we are and how we relate to the world around us. Expanding your understanding of the world starts with understanding your identity and how your cultural values influence your views of the world.

  • Culture is a set of norms and values that we may not even know we have because we learn them as part of growing up in a group that shares them.  
  • Identity includes culture and many other personal things about you such as gender identity, education, religion, sexual orientation, and many others.   

We can be influenced by multiple cultures because we belong to different groups, and similarly we can hold multiple identities because we have many different facets to who we are.

Feelings of disorientation when moving into a new culture are normal. It is not just surface things like food and dress that are different. Culture is about how people make sense of the world and define what is important. It is perfectly normal to feel confused as you begin to sense differences. Some people call this disorienting feeling “culture shock.” Prepare yourself for cultural differences and similarities by exploring your own identity and cultural values as well as investigating the practices, norms and values of your host culture.

The resources below take a deeper dive into culture and identity: