What Is a Cultural Environment?

Wagner T. Cassimiro

A cultural environment is a set of beliefs, practices, customs and behaviors that are found to be common to everyone that is living within a certain population. Cultural environments shape the way that every person develops, influencing ideologies and personalities. Cultural environments are determined by the culmination of many different aspects of culture that influence personal choices and behaviors.

Religious beliefs are an important building block of a specific cultural environment. For many cultures, a certain religion has been a critical part of everyday living for generations. Outsiders need to be aware of the customs and traditions related to specific religion in order to respectfully navigate a certain cultural environment.

Family and the relationship within the family are additional factors that determine a cultural environment. Many cultures are structured around families, while others promote individuality and self-sustainability. Like religion and family, language is the third most important element of a cultural environment. Outside of these components, educational and social systems affect the structure of a cultural environment. Social systems may determine customs or taboos that are important to a particular region, while education may determine what types of ideologies are publicly shared. When visiting a new country or region, it is important for visitors to understand the cultural environment in order to protect themselves from shame, embarrassment or the act of offending a stranger.