Examine your LENS: A Tool for Interpreting Cultural Differences


  • Tracey Rundstrom Williams




LENS, Study abroad, Cultural perspective, Models, Intercultural understanding


The Examine your LENS method is a visual, experiential, and memorable technique of four steps to understand cultural differences and intercultural interactions. These steps are grounded in experiential learning theory and utilize the skills, attitudes, and perspectives needed for intercultural competence.  By implementing these four steps, individuals can recognize biases and appreciate a different perspective, as well as actively engage with the local culture. As educators who want our students to be actively involved in their own learning, self-aware, and engaged in the local culture, this technique is an ideal tool.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Tracey Rundstrom Williams

Tracy Rundstrom Williams is the Associate Director of the Center for International Studies: TCU Abroad at Texas Christian University, which sends over 450 students abroad each year. She also oversees TCU’s Certificate in International Studies, and teaches courses on intercultural communication and language and gender. She holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington.


Argyris, C., Putnam, R. & McLain Smith, D. (1985). Action Science. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Barnlund, D. (1994). Communication in a Global Village. In L. Samovar & R. Porter (Eds.) Intercultural Communication: A Reader (26-36). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Bennett, J.M., Bennett, M. and Stillings, K. (1977). DIE Exercise. Retrieved from www.intercultural.org.

Bennett, J. M. (2008). Transformative training: Designing programs for culture learning. In M. A. Moodian (Ed.) Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Understanding and utilizing cultural diversity to build successful organizations (95-110). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Bennett, J. M., Brown, K., Cartwright, C., Davis, M., Deardorff, D., Hearn-Chung Gin, D., Huston, C., Knefelkamp, L., Nishishiba, M., and Smith, D. G. (2010). AAC&U Intercultural Knowledge and Competence Value Rubric. In Rhodes, T. (Ed.) Assessing Outcomes and Improving Achievement: Tips and Tools for Using Rubrics. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Deardorff, D. K. (2008). Intercultural competence: A definition, model, and implications for education abroad. In V. Savicki (Ed.) Developing Intercultural Competence and Transformation (32 – 52). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Deardorff, D. K. (2004). The Identification and Assessment of Intercultural Competence as a Student Outcome of Internationalization at Institutions of Higher Education in the United States. (Doctoral dissertation). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University.

Dodd, C. (1987). The dynamics of intercultural communication. Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown Publishers.

Goldgehn, L.A. (2004). Generation who, what, Y? What you need to know about Generation Y. International Journal of Educational Advancement 5 (1), 24 – 34.

Grunzweig, W. & Rinehart, N. (1998). International Understanding and Global Interdependence: A philosophical inquiry. International Educator, Fall, 41-48.

Gudykunst, W., Ting-Toomey, S. & Wiseman, R. (1991). Taming the Beast: Designing a course in intercultural communication. Communication Education, 40, 272-285.

Hess, J. D. (1994). The Whole World Guide to Culture Learning. Intercultural Press: Yarmouth, ME.

Johnson, S.A. and Romanello, M.L. 2005. Generational Diversity: Teaching and learning approaches. Nurse Educator 30 (5), 212 – 216.

Kipnis, D. G. & Childs, G. M. (2004). Educating Generation X and Generation Y: Teaching tips for librarians. Medical Reference Services Quarterly 23 (4), 25 – 33.

Kim, Y. (1991). Intercultural communication competence: A systemstheoretic view. In S. Ting-Toomey & F. Korzenny (Eds.) Crosscultural interpersonal communication (259-275). Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Mangold, K. (2007). Educating a new generation: Teaching baby boomer faculty about millennial students. Nurse Educator 32 (1), 21 – 23.

Nam, K-A & Condon, J. (2010). The DIE is cast: The continuing evolution of intercultural communication’s favorite classroom exercise. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 34, 81 – 87.

Neulip, J. (2000). Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Rosen, L. D. (2010). Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Senge, P. M., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R. B., & Smith, B. J. (1994). The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. New York: Currency Doubleday.

Smith, M. K. (2001). David A. Kolb on experiential learning. The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-explrn.htm.

Tulgan, B. & Martin, C. A. (2001). Managing Generation Y: Global Citizens born in the Late Seventies and Early Eighties. Amherst, MA: HRD Press.

Zemke, R. 2001. Here come the Millennials. Training 38 (7), 44 – 49.




How to Cite

Williams, T. R. (2013). Examine your LENS: A Tool for Interpreting Cultural Differences. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 22(1), 148–165. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v22i1.324