Explore News: "How do you keep from overstepping/offending in the host culture?”
August 2023
You asked! Our Missionaries answered! Every culture comes with its own set of dos and don'ts. Learning to live in a new culture can be extremely difficult. It isn't a matter of "if" you will make a mistake but "when" and how you will respond. In this month’s Explore News, our missionary panel shares how to mitigate overstepping or offending someone in a host culture.

Show You Value Their Culture

“The short answer won't. You're going to offend someone at some point but luckily, when you are in a new culture and people see you are trying to learn and adjust, they are generally gracious. Learn to be gracious with yourself as well, and even to laugh at your mistakes.

No matter how long you are on the field, maintain the attitude of always learning about and from the culture and people around you. Learning from the people shows that you value their culture and are making an effort. Your willingness to learn and not assume will make it less likely that you will offend and help you know how to handle it when you inevitably do."

People on escalator with quote, ""How do you keep from overstepping/offending in the host culture?" "The short answer won't"

Be A Learner

“Always have an attitude and heart of a learner. Even after seven years in Spain, I am still learning new things each week!”

Ask Questions. Ask For Help.

“We probably all overstep/offend at some points, but I think a posture of humility and learning is important. People can feel if you genuinely are trying to learn. Being purposefully observant and asking questions are two major ways to help with this. It can also be very helpful to find a culture helper, meaning an insider who can help you with questions and advice and who feels comfortable and open to talk with you about things. Other, experienced, long-term workers can be helpful in this as well.”

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