Because experiential programs have been shown to have some advantages over other training techniques, they have been recommended as additions to fact-based and attribution-based programs ( Bhawuk, 1990; Brislin et al., 1983; Gudykunst & Hammer, 1983). The primary advantage of these programs is that active training is more involving and realistic than passive training. In addition, trainees receive experience in problem solving, and they have the opportunity to test their capabilities. As a result, they have the opportunity to drop out if they feel they cannot handle the intercultural context. Not surprisingly, high-involvement programs tend to provide more valuable and realistic training than low-involvement programs. Because high-involvement programs are also labor, cost, and time intensive, it is not always feasible to use them. However, experts in intercultural training recommend that experiential involvement be as high as possible.
Training programs can be either culture general, designed to promote adaptation and effective functioning in any culture, or culture specific, designed to help individuals adapt to a specific culture ( Brislin U+00-26 Pedersen, 1976). The fact-based training programs described earlier and almost all the cultural assimilators are culture specific; most of the experiential exercises described earlier are culture general. Cultural self-awareness training provides another example of culture- general training ( Kraemer, 1974). The goal of self-awareness training is to make individuals more aware of their own culture and thus their culturally learned assumptions. It is assumed that individuals' cultural judgments are nonconscious; they cannot be suspended until individuals have been made aware of their judgments. This awareness is accomplished by identifying one's own culture's values and assumptions, which are displayed in videotaped sequences showing an American engaged in conversation with an individual from a non-Western culture.
Which type of training results in the most effective intercultural interactions? Not surprisingly, each type of program has advantages and disadvantages. Culture-general training programs are superior in making individuals more aware of their own cultural assumptions, but they do not necessarily increase the individuals' ability to respond effectively in another culture. Culture-specific programs are better at teaching effective communication within a specific culture, but the learning may not point up trainee's ethnocentric tendencies ( Rhuly,