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The Road to Cross-Cultural Connection


After twenty years in the business, we know well the challenges that arise within cross-generational, cross-cultural mentoring. As much as we think of our mentees as the ones learning and changing most, our staff and mentors often enter an entirely new world, especially given the great disparity in cultural backgrounds. Depending on where life has taken each of us, the learning curve can be steep, unpredictable, and even uncomfortable.  From our experiences, and for the enhancement of your cross-cultural mentoring journey, we pass along the following basic principles. May they propel you toward a deeper relationship with your mentee and guide you on the path of engaging different cultures.

Cultural competence develops slowly, and patience is necessary during this process.
Take time sincerely to know and understand your mentee.
Remember that most people are doing the best they can.
Strive to know and develop a relationship with the family, as this will aid in your understanding of your mentee.
Learn to be open to new ideas, thoughts, and being out of your comfort zone.
Ask questions and learn; be a student of your mentee.
Remember that decision-making is always complex, influenced by my variables we don’t often see or understand.
Communicating across racial and class boundaries is a skill that is acquired with practice and time.
Enjoy the journey of learning about your mentee, the process toward cultural competence.