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So You’re an American? A Guide to Answering Difficult Questions Abroad is an online resource created by the Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute for all Americans living and working abroad who are eager to prepare for the many informal and unofficial questions they will receive while overseas. It is designed to build skills and confidence in responding to difficult questions about culture and nationality. Specifically, this resource focuses on handling everyday inquiries from curious folks around the globe.

Throughout this resource, you will explore cross-cultural communication techniques as well as various aspects of culture through self-paced activities, videos, and simulations. Participants will develop confidence in their ability to navigate difficult questions and conversations, including knowing how to disengage appropriately. This resource limits its scope to non-foreign policy questions, as questions on policy demand answers from official sources.

While reviewing this resource, here is what you can expect to do:

  • Learn strategies and tools to answer difficult questions.
  • Explore the meaning of culture from American and international perspectives.
  • Build cultural awareness by examining various cultural perspectives and lenses.
  • Identify some of the complexities of communicating across cultures.
  • Review tips and tactics for engaging with people from other cultures.
  • Examine how culture influences everyday situations.
  • Practice answering difficult questions through branched role plays and scenarios.

U.S. Department of State

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