Another way to learn about culture is through your own critical incidents, moments you remember because of their emotional intensity. You may have gotten furious at the post office, for example, because people kept cutting in line, or maybe you were shouted at on the bus for something you still don't understand. On their own, these incidents don't necessarily teach you anything about the country or culture, but if you reflect on and analyze them, you almost always learn something from them. Here is a four-step method for deconstructing a critical incident.
1. Recollect the incident after you have calmed down, but not so long afterwards that you forget the details.
2. Write down all you can remember about it: what you did and said; what others did and said.
3. Get more information. The easiest way is to relate the incident to anyone you think can help you understand it better, including, if possible, anyone else who was involved in it. Another way is to revisit the scene where the incident occurred, in an observer role, and see if you can find clues to explain what happened.
4. Review the incident from the perspective of this new knowledge and see if you now understand it. You may not understand it completely, but you may understand it better or understand parts of it. And record this entire process in your journal.