How long has Go Culture been around?

The answer to this question is a bit fluid. Go Culture started as a research initiative decades ago. As a matter of fact, our co-founder, Dr. Carley H. Dodd, start exploring intercultural competency back in the 70s when it was just becoming a topic of research. He noticed that some people thrive in cross cultural situations, but that many people really struggle. Dr. Dodd wanted to step into the middle of this situation and make an impact, so he joined a group of leading scholars who drove this field of research for decades, becoming one of the top scholars in intercultural communication.

Throughout this process, Dr. Dodd realized that in order to really help individuals, we needed really reliable data, or knowledge of both where a person stands right now regarding intercultural aptitude and how, if at all, an intervention affects that aptitude. So in the mid 1990s, Dr. Dodd began in earnest developing what was first known as the Intercultural Readiness Assessment (IRA). After over eight years of development, the IRA was renamed Go Culture International, and since we wanted to be sure the program could actually help people, we spent the next 13 years testing the assessment and intervention. It wasn’t until late 2016 that Go Culture officially launched as a publicly available program that now serves institutions globally as a premier software as a service provider.

With the cultural awareness training and data reporting tools, this program sounds amazing, why haven’t we heard of it before?

There have been some great programs available over the years. In any legitimate program, you will find the sharing of the same research, a pool of only about 60 years’ worth. Instead of basing a program solely on a single concept, such as stress (which is super important), or searching for ways to find a person’s best cultural fit (where he or she would feel most comfortable in the world), we wanted to bring to bear the most robust set of factors that influence an individual’s cross cultural aptitude.

During our years of testing, we realized that human beings transition and interact cross culturally in very similar ways. Meaning no matter our point of origin or destination, we share vast similarities in the ways we navigate the emotional, psychological, physiological, etc. effects of cross cultural interaction. Sure, some situations are more difficult than others, but by and large we discovered that if we can approach the human’s ability (emotionally, behaviorally, etc.) to maximize these opportunities, he or she can transition from home to anywhere with greater aptitude. It’s kind of like creating a James Bond or Jason Bourne. You know, the one’s who can be dropped from a helicopter into any place on earth and just thrive!

Why not just use an existing program?

There have been some great programs available over the years. In any legitimate program, you will find the sharing of the same research, a pool of only about 60 years’ worth. Instead of basing a program solely on a single concept, such as stress (which is super important), or searching for ways to find a person’s best cultural fit (where he or she would feel most comfortable in the world), we wanted to bring to bear the most robust set of factors that influence an individual’s cross cultural aptitude.

During our years of testing, we realized that human beings transition and interact cross culturally in very similar ways. Meaning no matter our point of origin or destination, we share vast similarities in the ways we navigate the emotional, psychological, physiological, etc. effects of cross cultural interaction. Sure, some situations are more difficult than others, but by and large we discovered that if we can approach the human’s ability (emotionally, behaviorally, etc.) to maximize these opportunities, he or she can transition from home to anywhere with greater aptitude. It’s kind of like creating a James Bond or Jason Bourne. You know, the one’s who can be dropped from a helicopter into any place on earth and just thrive!

Aren’t there a couple free programs out there?

Yes. There are a couple free intercultural competency programs available to the public. It is great that certain individuals or organizations have made their respective resources available for free. But if you look closely at free programs, you may find some important components absent. When evaluating which program to use, there are some important questions to ask, like “can I get reliable data from this assessment (legitimacy)?”, “can I  distribute the assessment and gather data on a large scale (scalability)?”, “is there anything beyond the assessment, like coaching tools (intervention)?”, or simply “why is it free”? The reality is that through the internet, anyone can develop an assessment and place it online for public use. But if you cannot adequately address these important questions, you should probably keep looking for your best fit.

How does Go Culture differ from other assessment-based companies (IDI, etc.)?

Go Culture stands apart from traditional pedagogical approaches to intercultural competency in that it considers a more robust body of success factors, higher reliability and predictive validity, and a superior next-generation delivery platform to streamline the entire process of assessment + coaching (yes, this means you no longer have to pay for trainer-certification, pay for each step separately, or even hire and schedule that expensive intercultural competency coach to work with each individual). Furthermore, Go Culture is the only intercultural competency program to be recognized by Terra Dotta as a TD Connect Partner.

Is Go Culture a personality test?

Yes, but so much more! Of course, one’s personality plays a major role in how he or she will handle cross cultural situations. But, research indicates there are so many more factors that are equally important when considering a person’s ability to successfully participate in cross cultural contexts. Due to our willingness to look beyond traditional textbooks on intercultural competence to involve marriage and family therapy as well as other bodies of research, Go Culture considers 15 proven competency factors, including some never-before recognized.

Why isn’t in-person consulting or debriefing a part of your program?

After years of providing in-person consultation with individuals, couples, and groups, we saw the incredible impact of the Go Culture program. There were so many moments when we wanted to pat ourselves on the back about the progressions clients experienced. But at the same time we knew we could only help a limited number of people at a time. We had to find a better way to reach the growing number of individuals who were engaging cross culturally every year. When a program wants to grow today, the first idea is to go online. But we are nerds at heart. We didn’t want to go online with Go Culture if that meant sacrificing the accuracy of the assessment model and the legitimacy and impact of our proven needs-based coaching.

So we ran a test. Yep, a true, real-deal pre-post test, control-intervention-type study to see if, in fact, Go Culture could still make a difference for individuals online. We were shocked by the results. Not only did the online group perform well in the online version of Go Culture, but in pre to post test analysis, outperformed their in-person coaching counterparts in their intercultural aptitude improvements. It was then we realized we could move Go Culture, both assessment and the coaching, completely online to serve a more broad community of global citizens. That’s right, you no longer need that expensive and time-consuming intercultural competency consultant to debrief assessment results for 45 minutes with each individual! It’s not 1986, so don’t fall for that antiquated model of serving individuals (or lip syncing or VHS tapes for that matter). Just let you travelers click on their smartphones to learn on-the-go. Go Culture runs on cutting-edge technologies to bring you a scalable model that just works better for you and your journeyers.

Why does Go Culture explore factors unique in global citizenship education?

Many established intercultural competence assessments explore one or just a handful of competencies. Each of these are important, but from what the research is indicating, these programs are not making a large impact on global expatriate community success rates. You may get into the Go Culture program and think, “hey, where’s the _________ factor/competency? Why isn’t it listed?”. That is a valid question.

The truth is that we spent nearly 50 years researching intercultural competencies, developing an assessment model, and testing our assessment and coaching program to find that there is more to the story than what has been told in the past. No, it is not that the other guys are trying to hide something from you. It is like when you started using your wifi to watch your favorite TV shows on demand rather than pay a cable company and wait for the show to come around each week. Through research and innovation in intercultural competencies, we can also develop a more robust and accurate method to assess and prepare individuals for global citizenship. And that is why Go Culture can now provide the leading, most reliable, and most accurate global citizenship assessment method to date. 

How did you come up with these assessment questions?

In 1998, we started with around 167 questions centered around intercultural competency and based on the past 45 year pool of research on intercultural communication. Over the next eight years of assessment tool development and normalization, we looked for data trends and were able to begin eliminating unnecessary questions after each round of testing. The question patterns that hung together statistically eventually became the basis of what was first known as the Intercultural Readiness Assessment.

At the time of our first peer-reviewed academic publication on this tool in 2007, we had just launched an extensive period (13 years-worth) of multi-national validation, where we worked and reworked the assessment and corresponding coaching model to the point of an industry-leading 93% reliability (Cronbach’s Alpha .93) and 83% predictive validity. The truth is, there are times when we look at our own questions and fight the urge to reconstruct a number of them, but these 48 questions seem to resonate most with travelers and help you get the most accurate results.

Does Go Culture address (and assess) diversity and inclusion?

People ask us this question all the time. We all have room for improvement! That is why Go Culture is the perfect fit to provide scalable, but rigorous and academically-sound assessment and content to gauge and enhance awareness, thoughts, and behaviors around global citizenship, diversity, and inclusion. And since we can all afford to make improvements in these areas, we ensure our programming speaks to individuals and groups from various stations, roles, and experiences (i.e. faculty/staff, students, service members and family, humanitarians, global business executives, etc.).

Is Go Culture only for Americans, or is it helpful for other nationalities as well? (Are your resources aimed at specific countries, or are they universal?)

After years of research and testing Go Culture with thousands of clients representing work in over 40 countries, we realized that in order to truly help individuals cross culturally, we needed to step away from culture-specific matters and focus more on the person. Therein, we discovered that if we can evaluate and prepare an individual for the vast implications of cross cultural expe-riences, we could help a single person step into numerous (not just a single) contexts with greater ease and success. Therefore, Go Culture provides valuable assessment and coaching relevant to people groups all over the world.

How long do individuals have access to the Go Culture program?

Go Culture provides valuable service to the lifecycle of any relocation opportunity, for both the expatriate and his or her family. We know it is so important to serve both the traveler and family, whether or not the family comes along for the adventure. Each participant has access to the en-tire Go Culture program for a year. At the end of the year, subscriptions can be renewed so that individuals and families can be served over longer periods of times and the life cycle of the relo-cation process. This long-term process also allows any sending organization the ability to collect longitudinal data, generate the related narrative, and initiate necessary programs to serve anyone involved in the relocation.

About how many hours does a person need to spend to complete the program in full?

What we have found is that the more time an individual spends preparing for cross cultural en-gagement, the better he or she does on the field. With that said, there are almost always restrict-ing timetable parameters on any participant. Though we don’t advise anyone to simply speed through the Go Culture program, it can be helpful to know what level of time commitment is re-quired to complete the program and become certified. We provide helpful templates, or syllabi, to assist clients who wish to more deeply engage the content with participants. However, if taken at it’s most neck-breaking speed, the Go Culture program could be completed in approximately five and a half hours.

Do you have data on assessment numbers between fully engaged individuals who watch videos and journal vs. individuals students who just take the pre and post-test?

Yes. We have nothing to hide, so we place our double-blind peer-reviewed research manuscripts on our website. As a matter of fact, in order to get a true sense of whether or not our intervention model made a meaningful impact, we consistently evaluated both a control and intervention group. In this way, we could see if the Go Culture program actually made an impact. And every single time the Go Culture program was implemented, we saw a statistically significant improvement in participant global citizenship from pre to post test, meaning this stuff really works!

Moreover, we know that assessment alone should not serve a stand-alone source of intervention. Sure, there is valuable self-awareness that takes place when an individual sees his or her assessment results, but without a guide to help these individuals know how to make strides toward improvement, all they have are numbers.

What about tracking individuals performance over time (even after assignment or gradua-tion)?

It is important to gauge and track an individual’s improvements in global citizenship from point A to B. But we know you want and need more than a simple pre-post test model. That is why Go Culture provides a simple solution to collecting and reporting longitudinal global citizenship and intercultural competency data. You can track beginning to end of Freshman year and before and after study abroad, or even expatriate selection to on-the-field to returning home.

How do I provide global citizenship programming across multiple sites?

Scalability and user-friendliness are paramount to Go Culture. After years of testing the impact of our program, we have dedicated our recent attention to providing an online,  streamlined implementation and tracking system. A robust assessment and intervention program is only as good as its delivery model, and a delivery model is not very important without a sound program/product.

With Go Culture, a small international student program, campus-wide global citizenship QEP initiative, state school system-wide initiative, or an enormous national or even international business or humanitarian conglomerate expat program can be easily launched and tracked. Simply distribute access, designate groups to evaluate, and watch the data roll in while simultaneously delivering proven, high-impact education through our proprietary learning management system (LMS).

How do we make sure the academic participants (students) use it?

With our online dashboard, you can track how many and which students are using Go Culture. If you are a current Terra Dotta client, you can also track Go Culture usage through the TD materials checklist (wherein you can make Go Culture mandatory for students). So sending reminders and providing incentives are simple feats. We have also seen Go Culture as an academic requirement. A pending student account-hold seems to get results!

Can we afford Go Culture?

If you are in higher education, here is your answer based on what others are doing.

  1. Study Abroad

You can easily make Go Culture a pass-through cost, wherein students pay a program fee that covers the cost of Go Culture, just as you would do for student insurance. This concept works really well for study abroad programs, even to the point of becoming a possible revenue stream in some cases. Just imagine what your department could do with some extra money: maybe advertising; student events; you name it.

  1. International Student and Scholar Services

For departments serving international students and scholars, we have to keep in mind the purpose and outcomes of Go Culture. Of course you want to be known for the way you provide top-notch services and care for international students. You go to great lengths to secure important paperwork in a timely manner, connect them with international student communities on campus, and answer important questions every day. But what you don’t have the time or manpower to address are the deep-seated cultural transition challenges for every single student/scholar. When many of these students think they are the only ones struggling, don’t know what to call what they are experiencing, and are embarrassed or too proud to share their thoughts and emotions with you, we have found they are more than willing to do so through the security of their smartphone via Go Culture.

Through this valuable insight, you can become aware of individual student challenges or larger incoming class trends so that student orientation models can be adapted. Moreover, whether we want to admit it or not, a school should be run with a bit of a business model mentality. If we are to recruit and retain great students, we need to provide top-notch services, especially when international student enrollment is decreasing. Take a page from classic business textbooks: it is much cheaper to keep a client (student) that it is to get a new one. A small investment in your students today can pay big dividends tomorrow.

It sounds like more work for me, I’m busy enough…

If your office looks like most other human resources/global mobility or international education offices around the country, it is under-staffed, under-funded, and over-worked. That is why Go Culture lets you provide a cost-effective way to bring online programming that does not require additional manpower. With only 10 minutes of implementation, you can begin tracking participant data, generate graphically-appealing reports for the boss, either customize the program to fit your specific needs or simply let it run and know you are making a major impact on the success of your travelers and her/his family or on your students’ global citizenship through Go Culture.

Do you require a “Train the Trainer” session and restrict use to a certified institutional representative?

Absolutely Not! Who has the time and money for that? We believe you are smart enough to un-derstand how to manage Go Culture for your institution without two weeks of intensive training. Don’t get me wrong. We stand by you all the way to make sure you understand everything or that if you need to prepare that big report for the boss, you know which button to push to magi-cally populate and create those cool graphics. Think of us as your on-staff intercultural compe-tency experts who work hard for you, but you only have to see us when you need us. And if you are tired of having to carry all the weight of this kind of work on your shoulders, Go Culture lets you delegate roles with your team, faculty, or staff so that the right people can see what they need to see when they need to see it. What a relief!

We already have an assessment we developed in-house.

That’s great! We have found that developing a deeply accurate assessment model and robust online coaching program takes decades, so if you have found a more efficient way to do this, please share your ideas! If, instead, you had the HR college grad or the Art Professor put togeth-er a list of questions for participants based on her or his experience maybe we can help you build on this valuable groundwork. With Go Culture, you can lean heavily on our decades of normal-ized research analytics to collect highly reliable data on each individual and/or group. But you can customize Go Culture to incorporate the questions you want asked at your institution and then disseminate surveys, collect data, and report findings with ease, all on a scalable platform. Pretty cool, huh?

How do you account for self-reporting data?

It is impossible to completely account for the effects of self-reporting on data outcomes. Over the decades we have tested Go Culture, we have followed standardized procedures to remove biases and account for social desirability. The result is the leading, most-accurate assessment on intercultural competency to-date. In an industry where the benchmark for reliability has been around 43%, we are proud to document 93% reliability. But in case that’s not enough, we provide a highly correlated post-hoc, third-party analysis called the Supervisor Survey of Intercultural Performance (SSIP). This brief assessment can be completed online by leaders or advisors. With this external input on each individual’s intercultural aptitude, you can draw a more complete picture with quantitative, qualitative, and observer data.

So do you only provide assessment and data?

Oh, so much more! Beyond offering the leading, most accurate intercultural competency and aptitude assessment to date, we provide you with a scalable model for collecting qualitative data (journals), third-party objective student analysis, web-based trendy videos, podcasts, blogs, and more. Go Culture provides a great solution for institution-wide global citizenship education and assessment that either stands alone or compliment existing programming.

Do you have a written list of the “next steps” outlined in each training video? It would help to have a bulleted list of items for people to see once they finish watching the vide-os.

Sure! Our combined 60 years of faculty experience tells us that we can teach all day long, but that learners appreciate specific learning methods. That is why we offer visual, audible, and written formats, clearly projecting best practices, goals, and challenges for each individual.

Do you offer your resources in other languages?

Keeping client costs down is important at Go Culture. One way we are able to offer such extensive programming at a low cost is that we translate on an as-needed basis. With online technology services available today this process is relatively speedy, so If there is a specific language you would like to request, please email us at info@goculture.org.

More Questions? Email info@goculture.org for a quick and friendly response.

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