The Language Flagship


Culture Initiative


Urdu Scenarios

The Regional Flagship Language Initiative’s Culture Initiative (RFLI-CI) provides highly contextualized scenarios through which students can encounter, reflect on and think through real life scenarios that illustrate differences in cultural norms and perceptions of appropriate behavior between their own culture and that of the environment in which their target language is spoken.

The RFLI-CI uses the approach to learning culture developed by the Flagship Culture Initiative (FCI). By using scenarios, students are given multiple aspects to consider when judging how appropriate a behavior or attitude might be in a given context. The context of the scenario provides information on the participants, their relation to one another, times and place, and relevant information about holidays or religious observances.

The judgment task at the end of each scenario allows students to give their opinions on how the participants handled the situation and to receive expert feedback as to why a range of responses would be more or less appropriate in the context of the scenario. This feedback and the reflection activity that follows the scenario primes the student for productive discussions with their cohort on the cultural norms presented through each scenario.



Scenarios are grouped into topics which were selected based on a 360-ICC Survey of Overseas Flagship Programs conducted for the FCI. These topics group scenarios based on feedback from past program participants, program staff, and instructors at each of our host sites. These topics include hospitality, understanding personal space, religious holidays, and more.

Instructional Settings

The culture app is designed to be delivered as a supplement to intensive language study. But it can be used as a standalone tool as well. The material in the culture app is best delivered to cohorts of students that will be either studying the same language or living at the same site abroad.

The culture app materials are best supported by roundtable discussions that are moderated by program staff familiar with the host culture and the academic program that students are on. These round table discussions help guide the students through the reflection tasks that are included at the end of each scenario to better understand why scenarios unfolded the way they did and to explore the expert feedback and culture notes that were provided at the completion of the judgment task.

If used in a classroom setting, scenarios or judgment tasks can be assigned as homework. Materials can also be adapted for use in classroom activities based on student level. For example, students at the elementary level can perform the scenario in class in a role-play activity whereas intermediate and advanced level students can write a summary of the assigned scenario and their agreement or disagreement with the experts’ feedback in the target language. Students can discuss the Reflection tasks and Extension tasks in class as well.

Scenario Length and Language

Scenarios are designed to be concise so that students can read a scenario, complete the reflection task, complete the judgment task and prepare notes for a roundtable discussion in one sitting. The scenarios are also developed to be easily accessed by mobile devices for students that prefer that platform.

All of the RFLI-CI scenarios are presented in English and contain only enough target language vocabulary as is necessary to explain cultural expressions that might be specific to the scenario. This is to allow students of varying levels of language proficiency to contribute to the conversation and benefit from the scenarios. In practice, if there is a large enough cohort of advanced students the recommendation is that they conduct the round table discussions in the target language, whereas novice or intermediate students might benefit from English discussions on the topics from the culture initiative.

Extension and Reflection Tasks

Scenarios are followed by reflection and extension tasks. The extension tasks link to external materials that relate to important concepts handled in each scenario. These are sometimes videos or articles that further explore the concepts shared via the expert feedback and the culture notes.

The reflection tasks are questions for the students to ponder and prepare responses to share during the roundtable discussion. The reflection task questions are the starting point for a roundtable moderator to walk students through conversations that compare and contrast between norms in their culture and that of the host country, and to explore student impressions from the expert feedback and the judgment task. These tasks provide students with the opportunity to explore their own culture in its multitude and complexity, which they can apply when interacting with people within the host culture.

Conversations in the round table help students talk through their preconceptions of the host culture and further explore how their own perceptions, their beliefs will affect their stay abroad.


Urdu Project Leads

Laura Hammond, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ryan Doud, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Urdu Academic Oversight

Felecia Lucht, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Urdu Instructional Design Specialist

Deanna T. Clement, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Urdu Editor

Anne Naparstek, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Content Author

Umar Anjum, Lahore University of Management Sciences


Project Consultants

Dianna Murphy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Karen Evans-Romaine, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Valerie Anishchenkova, University of Maryland

Joseph Bass, University of Maryland

Dan Davidson, American Councils for International Education

Nadra Garas, American Councils for International Education


Content Reviewers

Laura Hammond, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Felecia Lucht, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sarah Beckham, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Anne Naparstek, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Deanna T. Clement, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Ratings Panelists

Ahtesham Khan, American Institute of Indian Studies, Lucknow

Sheba Iftikhar, American Institute of Indian Studies, Lucknow

Fahmida Bono, American Institute of Indian Studies, Lucknow

Gwendolyn Kirk, Lahore University of Management Sciences

Sidra Afzal, Urdu Govt.Post graduate College for Women, Rawalpindi

Faiza Saleem, Lahore University of Management Sciences


Data and Content Entry

Ryan Doud, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stephen Tschudi, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center


Images and Graphic Design

Julio C. Rodriguez, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center



Basic Social Norms

Introductions & Meeting Host Families
Family & Home Life (understanding and settling down)

Personal Lives

Getting to Know Neighbors
Discussing (or avoiding) Sensitive Topics

Everyday Life

Accepting or Declining Invitations
Standing in Line & Shopping

Out in Town

Personal & Social LIfe

Hanging out & Paying the Bill
Expressing Apologies and Showing Gratitude
Privacy and Boundaries
Personal Space

Celebrations & Events

Religious Holidays
Attending a Wedding
The Full Wedding Experience

Traditions and Gift Ideas

Visiting Houses & Accepting Gifts
Giving Gifts

The Flagship Culture Initiative was supported by a 3-year grant (2017-2020) to the University of Maryland from the Institute of International Education (IIE), acting as the administrative agent of the National Security Education Program (NSEP), Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO) for The Language Flagship.

The Language Flagship is a national initiative to change the way Americans learn languages through a groundbreaking approach to language education through a network of programs at institutions of higher education across the United States. The Language Flagship graduates students who will take their place among the next generation of global professionals, commanding a superior level of proficiency in one of ten languages critical to U.S. national security and economic competitiveness.

This website has been developed and is maintained by The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center. The content of this website and of the Culture App do not necessarily reflect the position of policy of the U.S. government. No official government endorsement should be inferred.


The Language Flagship Technology Innovation Center