Albatros – Cultural Simulation

Goals and Flow of Simulation

Albatros can be used for the preparation of intercultural learning. It is based on experimental learning and consists of two parts:

• Welcoming Ceremony between the members of the invented culture “Albatros” and foreign guests.
• Discussion

Time required: ~2 hours (Simulation : 30 minutes; Discussion 90 minutes)
Trainer: 2 trainers (one female, one male)
Size of Group: 12 (would be the optimal number), it is neccessary to have an equal number of male and female)

Preparation of the Game

• Bowl to wash your hands
• Plate with some food (e.g. nuts, chips etc.)
• Cup with a drink
• Chairs set-up in a half-circle
• For the discussion, it is suggested to structure it on a flipchart in this way:
1. Observations
2. Interpretations
3. Emotions

Flow of the Game:

(Minimum Standard, before the simulation actually starts, explain the flow of the game briefly, esp. that you are not allowed to speak during the simulation!.)

Instructions for Trainers:

Albatrosians are patient, friendly, and shy. Only while proceeding ceremonies (e.g. Welcoming & Farewell) they touch their guests. Albatrosians speak a different language: There is a certain sound (sizzle?) for disagreement and another one for agreement. There is also a sound to attract people’s attention.

Initial Procedure:

One female and one male Albatrosian are seated: the man is sitting on a chair, the woman kneels next to him on the floor. Participants are now asked to enter the circle, the women have to take off their shoes first. The Albatrosian man leads the foreign men to the chairs as well as the Albatrosian woman guides the foreign women to the spaces next to the chairs and asks them through gesturing to kneel down next to a chair.

Welcoming the Guests:

The male host stands up and welcomes the male guests one after another. This is done by touching his guests shoulder and starring into his eyes. (etc, etc) After welcoming all his male guests, he goes back to his seat.
After that, the female host welcomes her female guests in a similar way and returns to her place also.

After this procedure, there is a short period of silence. The Albatrosians do not seem to notice any laughter from the guests side and they do not smile themselves.
Then, the Albatrosian woman takes the bowl of water, and asks the male guests to dip the fingers of their right hand into it. The women do not wash their hands. After that, the Albatrosian woman returns to her place.

After another sound of the man the woman stands up again and offers some food to the Albatrosian man. Then, she offers food to the male guests. It is important, that she takes the food into her hand and feeds the men. The Albatrosian man looks around with pleasure. Hereafter, the Albatrosian woman offers food to the female guests which have to serve themselves.
Whenever the Albatrosian woman returns to her palce and kneels down, the albatrosian man should gently push down her head three times.
It is required that he also tries to get the male guests to imitate this gesture.
The drink will be served by the Albatrosian woman in the same order and way than the food.(i.e. first her own man, then the male guests and finally the female guests and the males are not allowed to pick up the cup themselves)

After another break, both of the Albatrosians stand up and walk around in the circle of the guests and try to communicate with their guests by clicking with their tongue. They return to their places afterwards. In the end, the male Albatrosian stands up again and leads the male guests to the entrance/exit one after another. Following his example, the female Albatrosian does the same for her female guests.

Explanation to the Game:

In contrast to the first impression, the women has a higher position than the men. The earth is holy and women who give birth to children are closer connected to the earth than men. This is why only the women are allowed to take off their shoes. That is also the explanation for the women kneeling on the earth and the Albatrosian woman serving the food. Only her is allowed to touch it , since it is sacres.

Role of men and women:

When Bending the women’s head down this is done to remind the women of her responsibility in respect to the earth. When eating, a man has to wash themselves first, he drinks and eats first to make sure the food is okay.

The sounds serve only the purpose of attracting people’s attention, usually, Albatrosians communicate by telepathy, this is why sometimes breaks of silence occurred.

The society of Albatrosians appreciate silence and a certain degree of seriosity. They are peaceful, open towards foreigners and tolerant. They eat and drink what they like and all their ceremonies stem from traditions and are regarded as very normal. IT IS IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT THAT ATTITUDE! Because this is a very normal attitude in society: You think that your behaviour is very normal and expect your guests to behave the same way.


The discussion is the most important part of the simulation and consists of two parts:

Cultural Observations:

It should provide the participants with the opportunity to try out their ability to observe and to draw conclusions about the Albatrosian culture.

Cultural Awareness:

In this part, participants are asked to reflect on their own reactions and emotions


If there are any other open questions, just explain them due to different cultural background.
Important: Every participant should be able to understand the encounter with a different culture than their own, it is not important to explain every single detail, but it is important , that the participants understand that the Albatrosians consider themselves very normal.
Usually, participants do have the tendency to ask the facilitators to answer all their questions, it would be useful though, if the trainer can make the group finding the answers to the question themselves

Cultural Observations:

• Collect ideas and Impression (Example core question: Where were you and what have you done and seen while visiting the Albatrosians)
• Try to focus on observations and separate emotions and interpretation from them.
• It would be very useful if the “first impression” of a male dominant society is questioned by one of the participants
• Main learning areas
• How does our own culture influence our observations?
• How well do we observe?
• Is it possible for us to notice details also?
– Observations are interpreted and understood from our point of view
– We can learn a lot from other cultures even if we do not know too much about it
• Remark: It should be clear that questions like “ Are all Albatrosians like that” do not form a part pf the learning experince of the simulation

Cultural Awareness:

• Personal emotions: Everyone should realise that emotion are a result of an individual way of interpreting observed things
• Participants might criticise the artificial setting of the game, BUT the important aspect is that the individual reactions do reflect reality

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