This paper investigates the influence of culture on understanding metaphors in GUIs and aims to generate guidelines for choosing appropriate metaphors for users from different cultures. Considering the dual-coded structure of compound metaphorical icons - composed of two major units: image and label - this study evaluates the main hypothesis that understanding of graphical and textual elements of the metaphors differs due to real world and language experiences of the users. A study on a French e-learning site - based on a spatial 'Campus' metaphor - was conducted with sixty-eight Turkish and French students. The qualitative study applied a multi-method approach including data collection instruments like background and icon recognition questionnaires and interview. Findings suggest differences in understanding across the two cultural groups and provide an in-depth analysis on the process of cross-cultural understanding of metaphors by focusing on the metaphorical inconsistencies. Through this analysis, guidelines are proposed for choosing metaphors in GUIs.