A Cross Culture - Diversity Simulation The Schools & Charities Version Interactive, Engaging, Effective and Safe. BaFa' BaFa' engages students in a memorable interactive way. Order Now! Build awareness of how cultural differences can profoundly impact people. Examine how stereotypes are developed, barriers created, and misunderstandings magnified. Order Now! Motivate participants to rethink their behavior and attitude toward others. Allow participants to examine their own bias and focus on how they perceive differences. Order Now! Initiates immediate, personal change and makes participants personally aware of the issues around culture and diversity. Order Now! Used by tens of thousands of organizations including universities, high schools, fraternities, non-profits, volunteer groups, churches, orientations, youth groups, cross cultural organizations and many more. Order Now!

Energize your Curriculum

In BaFa’ BaFa’ participants come to understand the powerful effects that culture plays in every person’s life by experiencing it themselves. It may be used to help participants prepare for living and working in another culture or to learn how to work with people from other departments, disciplines, genders, races, and ages. Here are a few of the ways BaFa’ BaFa’ has been used in the hundreds of thousands times it has been run around the world:

BaFa’ BaFa’ initiates immediate, personal change. This simulation makes participants personally aware of the issues around diversity and cultural awareness. Participants feel the alienation and confusion that comes from being different. BaFa’ BaFa’ shakes participants out of thinking in stereotypes of anyone who is different. They learn the value of all faces in the workplace in a safe, stimulating environment.

Schools & Charities version of BaFa' BaFa' is a reusable kit which includes everything needed to run the simulation for up to about 40 participants at one time.

You just need an assistant facilitator, participants and someplace to run it. The materials are always available and usually ship the next business day after receiving the order. We prefer to ship via DHL or UPS and it usually takes between 2-5 working days to arrive in most parts of the world. Call us at 858 450-3400 or contact us online if you have any questions.

What happens in BaFa’ BaFa’?

After an initial briefing two cultures are created. The Alpha culture is a relationship oriented, high context, strong ingroup outgroup culture. The Beta culture is a highly competitive trading culture. After the participants learn the rules of their culture and begin living it, observers and visitors are exchanged. The resulting stereotyping, misperception and misunderstanding becomes the grist for the debriefing.

What does BaFa’ BaFa’ teach?

The BaFa’ BaFa’ simulation is often used to introduce the notion of cultures then follow up with a discussion and analysis of specific cultures and the way they are formed.

Betans speak a “foreign” language made up of a combination of vowels and consonants. It is easy to learn and use but difficult to understand if one doesn’t know the rules governing its use. When Alphans come to the Beta culture and hear the language they are often intimidated by it and withdraw from the culture creating an impossible communications barrier. Others are able to make themselves understood very easily with gestures, sign language and facial expressions. Each of these reactions creates excellent opportunities to discuss and analyze the particular communication process under scrutiny. For example, what is the effect of the specialized language used by data processing people, engineers or finance people when people from all parts of a company come together to achieve a common goal? How should the salesperson react when clients use acronyms, initials and words which he or she doesn’t understand.

Many instructors and trainers use BaFa’ BaFa’ to help students understand how stereotypes of other cultures, departments, companies or occupations get formed and perpetuated. “They’re cold, greedy, all they do is work” are some of the words which Alphans use to describe the Betans. The Betans on the other hand, come to believe the Alphans are “lazy, unfriendly to outsiders, and don’t like females.”

As in life, such stereotypes make it difficult for people to work together effectively. Unlike life, however, the simulation gives participants an opportunity to analyze and discuss how such stereotypes are formed as well as methods for overcoming their negative effects.

How has BaFa’ BaFa’ been used?

It’s been used in many different ways by schools and charitable organizations (view who’s used Schools & Charities BaFa’ BaFa’).

  • The most common use is to help students, parents, neighborhood groups in all kinds of programs and situations work together more effectively. For example, Universities such as MIT and Temple have used BaFa’ BaFa’ to orient freshman students to the multicultural environment of the university.
  • Teach resident assistants (RA’s) and dorm personnel about the multicultural environment of campus housing.
  • Business schools use it to help their students understand the value and importance of working with a diverse work force.
  • Selling to other cultures.
  • Fraternities and Sororities use it to create awareness and acceptance of cultural differences.
  • Preparation for traveling or studying abroad (universities and religious organizations).
  • It’s also been used in sociology, anthropology courses to help students understand the meaning and importance of culture.
  • Religious organizations use it to create awareness within their membership.
  • Prepare for Missionary work abroad.
  • And many more…

For uses by business and government agencies look at the Professional Version of  BaFa’ BaFa’ page here.

  • BaFa' BaFa' Educational Kit

Summarizing the Experience

The Directors Guide includes questions intended to help the participants understand the ways in which people who belong to different cultures, organizations or groups can learn about one another. Some of the conclusions that the participants have reached after participating in the School & Charities version of BaFa’ BaFa’ are shown to the right.

Conclusions from Participants

It’s really important to check out assumptions when interacting with people from another culture. Otherwise, one may draw many false conclusions that end up hurting the relationship.
The outsider must realize that what seems irrational, contradictory, or unimportant to him/her may seem rational, consistent and terribly important to the person in the other culture, company, department or occupation.
Judgements about other cultures, companies or departments by others must be regarded with a healthy dose of skepticism. In other words, one should make up one’s own mind about another culture and not rely on the reports and experiences of others.
Different cultures, companies or departments often interpret the same event differently.
Developing a close friendship with a sensitive person from the other culture who can serve as one’s guide and advocate is one of the best strategies for understanding and working with the other culture.
Judgements about other cultures, companies or departments by others must be regarded with a healthy dose of skepticism. In other words, one should make up one’s own mind about another culture and not rely on the reports and experiences of others.
Plan for a minimum of one and one-half hours for the simulation and 30 minutes to two hours for the debriefing depending on your goals.
The first time you run the simulation we recommend setting aside two hours to prepare. Subsequent times it should take approximately 30 minutes to prepare the materials.
Everything is included to run the simulation for up to about 40 participants at one time. You just need an assistant facilitator, participants and someplace to run it.
No, we’ve included step by step instructions for setting up, running and discussing the simulation. If you have any questions you can call us at 858 450-3400 and we’ll be glad to help you.
It requires a minimum of 12 participants. It works best, however, with 18 to 35 participants. It has been played in groups as large as 300 with special accommodations.
Everything is included in the kit with the exception of two audio cd players and a white board, or newsprint pad (or similar). It is necessary to have an additional space besides the classroom such as a hallway, another classroom, stage or a patio.
The Schools & Charities version of BaFa’ BaFa’ can be used as many times as you’d like. Copyright laws require you do not reproduce any of the materials, but each kit should last for years. We suggest you are very diligent in getting the materials back from the participants.

Simulation Training Systems is, and always has been, the sole publisher of BaFa’ BaFa’. It was designed by our founder R. Garry Shirts and has only been published by our company. Other versions or”home made” versions of the simulation are not authorized  by us (and are usually in violation of copyright laws) and we hope that you will use the authentic product published by us. We appreciate your support.

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