Crosscultural Directions

growing into cultural differences

Overcome homesickness, go beyond culture shock and enjoy your new culture

What are cultural differences?

“The French are very critical, even negative. It seems that the glass is always half empty. “

“I don’t understand customer service in France. Why is it so inefficient?”

“Making friends in France is very difficult, even though I am very sociable“.

Without knowing it, you have put your finger on important cultural differences but you don’t know how to see them yet, let alone make sense of them.

Culture, a pair of norm-setting glasses

Every culture proposes ways of behaving, thinking, acting and reacting in given circumstances. We think that these ways of being and doing, which we unconsciously practice, are universal. In reality, these behavioral standards are like a pair of normative glasses through which we perceive and interpret the world. 

Should we just tolerate cultural differences ?

When we move  to a new place, without knowing it, we take our normative glasses with us. Even though we live in another culture, we continue to look at and make sense of the world around us according to codes that are no longer necessarily valid in the new culture. To live in another culture is therefore often to be unconsciously in the presence of two cultural codes that are rarely in sync.

There is a clash between what we expect in a particular situation and what actually occurs, and between the anticipated outcome of our behavior and what transpires. Discrepancies between cultural behaviors often generate feelings of frustration, misunderstanding, and powerlessness, which quickly turn into value judgments or rejection.

... Or live an intercultural experience serenely ?

To live fully and serenely in another culture, we must be able to identify the cultural differences. In other words, we must first become aware of our “cultural glasses”, then, take them off, and finally, take the risk of trying on new ones that are better adapted to the situationDeveloping intercultural skills requires learning to observe, compare and interpret our own culture in relation to another.




“ I highly recommend Francie and Hélène's intercultural ateliers for foreigners living abroad in France, whether they are here for a short or long term stay. Francie and Hélène have created an educational discussion-based workshop in a friendly atmosphere. Viewing cultural differences through both a French (Hélène) and American (Francie) lens has helped me to understand, the frustration and confusion that is bound to accompany a move to a new country ! “


" During each workshop, the collaborative and open conversation is informative, anecdotal and always a safe space to share. Without the sessions, I am sure I wouldn't have made such a conscious effort to appreciate the conveniences and challenges between cultures and would be feeling frustrated from a lack of understanding. Instead, I have made new connections with people in the city and have a framework to relate to when I consider integration with the French culture and people ".


"The workshops have instilled a greater empathy and understanding of cultural differences in every professional situation I’ve experienced. And while the workshop was focused on French culture, I’ve found that the reflexions we had can be applied in many situations to assess and understand bias, cultural misunderstandings, and differences across the board".

Who should attend our workshops?

Are you a foreigner living in France?

Are you French and you’ve just returned from a stay abroad?

You are bi/tri/multicultural and want to know more about the cultures that shape you?

Are you going to live in another culture soon? 

Located in Paris, France, but useful all over the world. Our workshops are there for you !