Author: Rasheedat Sadiq | Published on 1 February 2024


Read what Rasheedat says about this activity:

The focus of this activity is to build empathy for those from other cultures. Learners will practice asking and responding to open ended questions about things they are curious to find out from other cultures.

Stage 1: Preparation

Before the class, get images of people in different cultural/traditional clothing. If the class is relatively homogenous, ask the learners to research a culture or tribe that is different to theirs, and give them key information to look for, such as traditional food, customs, clothes, etc.

Stage 2: Warm-Up

Show pictures of people in their traditional attire and ask learners to guess the tribe or country shown in each picture.

NB If using cultures that are not well known, have a matching activity to match the tribe to the correct name. Create two sets of flashcards, one with images and the other with tribe names. Distribute these randomly and ask learners to find the person with the matching tribe card. At the end of the activity stage, check matched pairs and correct where necessary. 

Stage 3: Group work

Ask learners to choose any of the tribes that are different from theirs to be their imaginary exchange student. In groups, students craft open-ended questions to ask their exchange student. Model sample questions, such as: What is your national dish? What do you do during weddings? - The objective here is just to craft the questions not to answer them.

Stage 4: Review and Model

Choose one group to ask you (the teacher) their questions and model the responses based on your (the teacher’s) culture.

Stage 5: Listening and Speaking 

Pair learners to ask and respond to the questions crafted. Learners can answer the questions based on their culture or on the culture they researched in stage 1. As they speak, they take notes. Alternative: provide a fact sheet of the various ‘exchange student’ cultures for the students to use when answering the questions and give them time to read it before speaking. 

Stage 6: Note taking /Writing activity

Each learner creates a Venn diagram to organise/show the differences and similarities between the two cultures discussed. 

Stage 7: Oral language Practice/Feedback

Each person says one new thing they learned from the question session.

E.g. I learned that the Spanish currency is Real. 

       I discovered that Igbo people pay a dowry to the bride.

       I found out that ……. And one similarity between their culture and that of their exchange student.


Learners write an essay comparing and contrasting any two cultures or describing the Venn diagram.