This unit is a 6 week supervised visit to a socio-cultural and religious community different from the student’s own for the purposes of gaining some experience of cross-cultural work and ministry. It occurs in partnership with Global Interaction, the Australian Baptist cross-cultural mission organisation, and under the supervision of both a trained culture and language facilitator and a host community language and culture helper. Students will be guided through a language acquisition and culture awareness program, learning some basic vocabulary and grammar from the host community's language along with an acquaintance with aspects of the community's culture. Students will also have the opportunity to observe the working life of cross-cultural workers.

Unit code: AR3008W (Approved)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Religious Studies

Proposing College: Whitley College

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Learning outcomes


Discuss the basic elements necessary to developing intercultural sensitivities and knowledge, along with some characteristics and skills beneficial for cross-cultural living and engagement


Articulate the basic processes of learning a second language


Demonstrate a some capacity in a host community's language


Demonstrate an understanding of the tools required for cultural inquiry including, participant observation, ethnographic interviewing and writing a thick description, approaches common with cultural anthropology


Discuss a host community's culture and worldview in the areas of greeting and leave taking, clothing, food, work and non-verbal communication


Identify key issues informing the interaction of the gospel and culture in the host community

Unit sequence

  • DM1005W Culture and Language *Students will require an Australian Federal Police background check, as well an interview with a Global Interaction staff member prior to being accepted into the program.

Indicative Bibliography

  • = set texts recommended for purchase

  • Barley, Nigel. The Innocent Anthropologist: Notes from a Mud Hut, Long Grove: Waveland Press, 1983.

  • Bevans, Stephan B., Mission & Culture: The Louis Lusbetak Lectures, Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2012.

  • Elmer, Duane. Cross-cultural Servanthood: Serving In The World In Christlike Humility, Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2006.

  • Fetterman, David. Ethnography: Step by Step, 3rd ed. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2010.

  • *Lane, Patty. A Beginner's Guide To Crossing Cultures: Making Friends In A Multicultural World, Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2002.

  • Livermore, David. Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2012.

  • Moreau, A. Scott, and Campbell, Evvy Hay, and Greener, Susan. Effective Intercultural Communication: A Christian Perspective, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014.

  • Emerson, Robert., and Fretz, Rachel., and Shaw, Linda. Writing Ethnographic Field notes, 2nd ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011.

  • Rynkiewich, Michael. Soul, Self, and Society: A Postmodern Anthropology for Mission in a Postcolonial World. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2012.

  • Spradley, James P. Participant Observation, Orlando: Harcourt, 1980.

  • Thomson, Greg and Angela. 'The First Hundred Hours: Interacting about the Here and Now: Introduction to Growing Participator Approach', Phase 1A, Version: Mar06, edits Sep09. (Free)

  • Thomson, Greg and Angela, 'The First Hundred Hours: Interacting about the Here and Now: Add Constrained Two-Way Communication, Phase 1B', Version: Mar06, edits Sep09. (Free)


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

2,000 words selected from trip journal

0 20.0
Personal Reflection

4 x 800 word cultural reflections (thick descriptions) from the activities of participant observation and ethnographic interviewing about set culture topics.

0 40.0
Peer Evaluation

Completion of phase 1 of the language program and demonstrate an understanding and speaking capacity of 800 words in the host community's language. Equivalent to 4800 words

0 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by LTC on 25 Aug, 2016

Unit record last updated: 2020-10-30 19:16:46 +1100