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mid-week Connect: 5/1/24 ~ Scents across cultures

Greetings and Happy May Day!

Let’s enjoy another Word Connect today since ee do this once each month to remind ourselves that words do totally connect us cross-culturally and in so many other ways.* We’re exploring a series of related Word Connects this spring, each of which fits into the PROfile component of our Global SKILLs PROACTive Framework as well as the HOST Dimension of our 3D Dynamics Perspective. Both PROfile and HOST address aspects of who we are meeting and interacting with across cultures, and how important it is to understand these using insights gained from cultural practices and perspectives.**

Our series has 3 English words which sound alike: sense, scents and cents. 

Today let’s explore some cultural aspects of “scents”. It’s helpful to consider a few synonyms to get us started - how about "smell, fragrance, aroma, odor and bouquet". Well…

I have several impactful crosscultural ‘scents’ moments from a number of years ago, which I still carry with me. The first could be described as “bouquet and perfume” and comes from my time spent in Tunisia, where the flower markets and perfumeries/perfume stores in the Medina hold a very fond place in my heart, mind and ‘scents’ memory! I loved strolling by vendor tables piled high with freshly plucked, brightly colored petals ready to be weighed by the gram and distilled into fabulous perfumes. I then loved wandering through the tiny perfume stalls near-by, with shelves packed full of exotic vials and multicolored perfumes and scented waters all freshly concocted. My favorite was jasmine. I bought just a bit and it made its way to America with me, aromatically adorning my person and my spaces for months.  

Another scent experience would align with "odor, pungent". It also comes from that same Tunisian market where not all of the scents were pleasant - to me, at least! Some seemed nasty, spoiled, almost stinging and others just plain smelled bad. I imagine some were for medicinal purposes, or perhaps local dishes in which they were mixed to create (I am sure) delicious flavors.  

What I draw from these experiences is that, across cultures, we will meet many scents. We can either simply enjoy or reject any given one, or we can choose to make it an adventure to explore our response…and then compare that to someone else’s from a different cultural perspective. Holding our collective or individual nose might be necessary at times…but getting better acquainted with others’ scent perceptions is well worth the effort.

How about for you ~ what is a ‘nice’ and a ‘not so nice’ scent experience you have had cross culturally?

Share about that with a friend or note it here. 

And check out the Global SKILLs LINKs below for more on this.

Thanks for being part of this Connect community.

Until next week,



~ fascinating discussion of different cultural contexts for scents: 


* Other Word Connects we have explored: 1/4/23 - tapestry; 8/2/23 - circumlocution; 11/1/23 spelling across cultures; 4/3/24 - Senses

** Through my business Global SKILLs and several partner subsidiaries I offer unique cross-cultural consulting and training including: 

3 Dimensional Dynamics Model:  1st dimension = HOME ; 2nd dimension = HOST (which we explored this week); 3rd dimension = HARBOR) 

PROACTive Learning Strategies:                                                                                                 

PRO = PROfile (which we explored this week), PROcess, PROgram

ACT = Application, Collaboration and Transformation

~ contact me for more information on this model and these strategies and how you might use them in your current programming: 

2024 ~  Celebrating 40+ years of working in 

intercultural communications and global community building

“It takes a community to build a community”

Please Note: this is copyrighted content. 

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