You have cultural knowledge when you are familiar with the cultural characteristics, history, values, belief systems, social norms, and behaviors of another ethnic or cultural group.
Cultural knowledge has five main elements:
Norms — Rules about how everyone in a certain culture should behave (i.e. what is appropriate, normal behaviour).
Values — Cultural beliefs or ideas about how people should live and the lifestyle they should have (i.e. what makes a good life).
Symbols — Things that represent something else (e.g. flags, hand gestures, body language, etc.)
Constructions of Reality — Making mental maps of things and dividing everything into different categories.
Worldviews— The ways people interpret reality and see themselves and the world around them.
Cultural knowledge is certainly very important. But having only cultural knowledge is not enough — you need to have cultural awareness as well. Having cultural awareness means you recognize and understand that everyone has different values shaped by their diverse cultural backgrounds.
Cultural awareness is the next stage to understanding other groups, because they usually involve internal changes in terms of attitudes and values. Cultural awareness is important because it:
Celebrates diversity & cultures.
Decreases emotional discomfort while increasing respect for other cultures
Helps you to communicate clearly & avoid misunderstandings
Helps you reduce the chances of making bad or poor decisions (due to lack of awareness).
Increases your chances of making more insightful, considered decisions.
Allows you to develop more successful personal & professional relationships & benefit from cultural diversity.
Cultural Awareness: Video 1 – What is cultural awareness?
The importance of intercultural awareness | Mynd & Testo
Cultural Awareness in Globalized World | Ralph Strozza | TEDxNorthernIllinoisUniversity