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Intercultural and Cross-Cultural Communication

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 4 (941 words)
Categories: Communication, Culture, Culture And Tradition, Verbal And Nonverbal Communication
Downloads: 40
Views: 10

Intercultural communication is a study of cultural differences through communication and it occurs when large and important cultural differences create dissimilar interpretations and expectations about how to communicate completely (Myron W. Lustig, 2005). However, multiculturalism presents a huge challenge to intercultural communication (Bloomfield 2007). Therefore, it is important to learn about intercultural communication in order to overcome the obstacles that multiculturalism presents. In this essay, I will focus on reflecting on what I have learned from the course ‘Intercultural communication”, then sharing a short story about the culture shock I have ever experienced and given some guidelines for effective intercultural communication.

At the beginning of the course, I have learned about the definition and the components of intercultural communication. Within the topic, we talked about differences in identities and social practices. For example, the different cultural identities that we learned were collectivistic and individualistic. The distinction is that collectivism is group-oriented, while individualism is biased to self- orientation ( Lustig, 2005).

Discussing this topic, I discovered my country tends to be more collectivist and understood why people in my country often highly appreciate the benefits of the group rather than the individual. As we learned the definitions and ways of interpreting these factors that make up a culture, each student got the chance to attempt to break the cultural norms in order to put the knowledge we took into practice. In addition, we also acknowledge new cultures with new values, norms, and beliefs in the world, which contributes to reducing the misunderstanding and miscommunication in our daily life. Therefore, when interacting with those of different cultures within and outside of my community, I have learned to suspend my preconceived judgments and communicate with an open mind. I remove stereotypes that may be associated to a specific culture because this can negatively affect my interaction within the foreign community. It can cause an ethnocentric mindset or a narrow mind and ignorance on my part.

Another activity I find very helpful in the course is group work presentation. This project aims to assess on the ability to convince the audience and presentation skills of every student by working in a small group. Through this activity, I have learned how to work effectively with other people coming from other different backgrounds as well as listen to other people’s ideas so that I may have a comprehensive view of a matter. Moreover, by attentively listening to people’s ideas and interacting with an open mind, I can grasp foreign culture better and work to truly understand the cultures’ values and traditions as other people practice them. I can eliminate an ethnocentric mindset by placing judgments aside and being more accepting of different traditions and customs. That is also the most valuable lesson I have learned from working in a group. In a dispute or non-understanding between another and myself, I should consider the other side people support because if I myself don’t understand the other side, I should not place degrading ideas towards it. I should have placed myself in the shoes of the other in order to experience things from their point of view. This will help me in problem-solving skills by allowing me to better understand both sides and come to a conclusion where both sides can benefit. From this, therefore, I have acquired considerable cultural experience, which will be of great benefit to my future career, especially when working in an international environment, where I have to deal with clients and colleagues from diverse backgrounds.

Finally, writing activities allowed me not only to experience a variety of cultures but also to reflect on them, which makes me deeply understand of these concepts and the lower values in the iceberg of a culture (Edward, 1976) discussed in the class. After discussing concepts in class and applying them throughout my learning activities, I feel confident and comfortable entering a new community. For instance, I chose the topic for my writing about table manners in America. Then, I have spent hours and hours searching for materials, videos, and even researches about this practice. As a result, I discovered tons of new things I have never known before such as how to use a knife and fork correctly, how to put and fold the markets, and some eating etiquettes during the meal. All of them are really different from my culture and through this, I now feel much more confident when having a meal with an American.

However much you understand about a culture, you still suffer from uncomfortable feelings when you arrive at this culture, which is known as “ culture shock”. According to Merriam- Webster, culture shock is a term used to describe the anxiety produced when a person moves to a completely new environment. This term expresses the lack of direction, the feeling of not knowing what to do or how to do things in a new environment, and not knowing what is appropriate or inappropriate. The feeling of culture shock can usually set in after the first few weeks of arriving in a new country. Personally, I have experienced a language culture shock when I was an exchange student in Korea for 6 months. Until now, I vividly remembered feeling hopeless and frustrated in my inability to understand what people are saying and how to go somewhere by subway. Although I have studied listening skills in my country for a long time and found out how to use the subway before going to Korea, everything was almost different from my imagination. At that time, I didn’t want to go out because it took too much effort to communicate and discover a new-brand culture.

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Intercultural and Cross-Cultural Communication. (2020, Sep 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/intercultural-and-cross-cultural-communication-essay

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