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Culture Specific Knowledge

The Internet offers a myriad of Web sites with information on specific cultures. Through a meta search engine –i.e., a super search engine that searches several regular engines at once—one can readily access these sites. In addition, it is wise to use Boolean connectors [e.g., AND, NOT, OR—in capital letters] o0r phrase searches in quotation marks.

Applying this technique to Chinese culture, for instance, a phrase search with quotation marks [i.e., “Chinese culture”] would result in Web sites that contained the phrase as a whole, whereas a search without quotation marks (at least on some search engines) would bring up Web sites that contain the words in combination or by themselves- in other words, an unmanageable number of sites.

There are sites that specialize in intercultural themes and offer a collection of culture-specific information. What follows are a few examples of such sites.

Library of Congress Country Studies

This phenomenal site discusses the history, society, geography, culture, economy, and social environment of countries around the world. It is very detailed and rich in information, and so it makes for an excellent source for culture-specific explorations.

Web Rails and Web Rings

Web rails and Web rings are loose collections of culture-specific sites for serendipitous browsing. With a little patience and luck, you can find gems, such as the Native American Link Directory (on “therail”), with links to numerous sites on native Americans, or African Writers (on “webring”), which features information about oral literature, children’s literature, creation myths, non-fiction essays and travel reports, women’s literature, and more—all by African writers.

Refugee Sites
The “EthnoMed” site contains information about cross-cultural health issues, specifically of refugees from war-torn parts of the world. Examples of topics are “Food and Fasting in Somali Culture,” “Infant Sleep Position in Immigrant Ethnic Groups,” and “Tuberculosis Resources.”

Center for Applied Linguistics Refugee Service Center (CAL RSC)

CAL’S Refugee Service Center features orientation materials for refugees as well as guides for U.S. professionals working with refugees. These guides introduce the people, history, and culture of different refugee groups.

Business Sites
Executive Planet

Cultural Savvy

These guides to international business and culture in top trading partners of the United States include dozens of countries on all continents, providing brief country profiles and covering specialized topics, such as entertaining guests, making appointments, giving gifts, conversation topics, and public behavior.