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ss spotlight - Winter 2018,  Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold-Climate Cultures

Foreign to Familiar: A Guide to Understanding Hot- and Cold-Climate Cultures

by Sarah A. Lanier
McDougal Publishing Company, 2000
128 pp
ISBN: 978-1581580228

Reviewed by Elsi Wall, midwifery student on our International Track

I really enjoyed this book, and found it helpful in shaping my understanding of the differences between cultures. The author has lived in various cultures, and includes many of her personal experiences in her explanations. Lanier categorises cultures into 'hot climate' or 'cold climate', describing and explaining characteristics of each. She addresses the fact that this is a generalisation but expects most cultures to fall into one category or the other.

Topics covered include how people from different cultures approach relationships, social events, and communication. As well as providing insight into cultural habits, this book also addresses the issue of crossing cultures, and how moving from a 'cold climate' to a 'hot climate' culture, or vice versa, can lead to culture shock. With this in mind, the book encourages understanding of the new culture entered, and offers tips and insight that can be useful to someone experiencing this transition.

Although, of course, putting every culture into one of two categories takes away the unique elements and features of any culture, I see this book as a really helpful guide to someone who is crossing cultures; it has potential to help prepare someone to be more respectful, understanding and comfortable in a new culture.
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