Academic Diversity Activity: Proverbs


Participants will discover that, in many ways, people from different backgrounds and cultures hold similar values and beliefs.


15-20 minutes


A set of paired "Proverb Cards"


In advance, print the pairs of proverbs on the next page on index cards so that each proverb appears on a separate card.

Count the number of participants in the group and select enough cards to equal the number of participants. If there is an uneven number of participants, the leader must participate in this activity. Make sure that the cards are selected in matching pairs (one card with a proverb from the United States and one card with a similar proverb from another country).

Mix up the cards and pass out one card to each participant. When all cards have been distributed, ask participants to move around and find the person who has a card with a similar proverb. Ask partners to stand together when they have found each other. For each set of partners, one person should have a proverb from the United States and the other person should have a proverb from another country.

After most people have found their partner, ask those who have not found their partner to raise their hands. Ask those with raised hands to search among themselves for partners. When everyone has found their partner, ask each pair to read their proverbs out loud to the group. Ask the person with the proverb from the other country to read first, followed by the person with the proverb from the United States.


This activity shows that although we have many differences when we compare ourselves to other kinds of people, we also have many similarities. We may have different ways of talking and different behavior patterns, but many of our most basic needs and interests are similar.

Proverbs (PDF)

Proverbs Cards (PDF)

Penn State College of Agrigultural Sciences