Bridging The Divide: Overcoming Culture Barriers To Global Connections
Globalization has made it easier to connect with people from across the world.
Technology has given us faster ways to do that, yet one hurdle still remains – culture.
It is often misunderstood or seen as a barrier to communication between people of different backgrounds.
However, by understanding the nuances of your own culture better, you can make an effort to transcend it and bridge gaps in order to connect more deeply with others.
In Beyond Culture, you will learn how cultural differences contribute to both good and bad outcomes in our society.
You’ll be taught techniques on how to recognize when your culture is affecting your understanding (or misunderstanding) of someone else’s cultural norms and how to bridge those gaps when that happens.
You’ll also find out how German language and programming languages are similar, why Brazilians typically never accept excuses for lateness, and why Pueblo Indians think Western schools offer a poor education experience.
All this combined can help you learn not just about other cultures but also bring insight into yourself, enabling you to understand better what makes your cultures different from others so that you can begin the journey of transcending them all together.
The Cultural Influences Of Language: How Our Culture Affects The Way We Think And Act
It’s clear that our actions and thoughts are shaped by the culture in which we grow up.
From birth, the people around us start to teach us certain customs, ideas and social mores.
Over time, these learned behaviors turn into habits which become so ingrained that they become second-nature – almost automatic.
Take the way people greet each other as an example – while Japanese bow, Inuits ‘rub noses’.
The difference between these two acts of respect signify a cultural divide – one is only meaningful within its own respective context.
Different cultures also speak different languages for good reason; researchers have suggested that language has a major impact on how we perceive the world.
This is even known as the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis formulated by an anthropologist and linguist in 1929.
Rituals And Patterns Of Cultural Behavior Have A Variety Of Forms
We all perform learned cultural rituals on a daily basis, often without even realizing it.
Conversations that start with something small like ‘Hi, how are you?’ are examples of these rituals.
Other examples can manifest in seemingly mundane situations, such as in a public library when two people exchange trivial questions prior to having a more meaningful conversation.
Moreover, these patterns we follow also differ between cultures.
Settling disputes is one particular example where cultural practices are evident – different cultures have different expectations and norms they adhere to when trying to resolve conflicts.
In England or America, for example, subtle verbal hints might be expressed initially before a message is sent through an emissary and eventually leading to a direct confrontation.
Meanwhile in Latin American or Mediterranean countries, conflict resolution tends to involve the opposite approach – parties try to avoid engagement unless deemed absolutely necessary due to the high risk of entering into a feud with the other party.
Thus, it is important to be aware of cultural patterns and rituals that exist within our societies so we can better understand how these present in our everyday life interactions – both with those close to us and with strangers around us
How Culture Affects The Way We Communicate: The Pros And Cons Of Explicit And Implicit Communication
Different cultures have different ways of communicating, and each has its own set of pros and cons.
There’s the explicit communication style employed by some cultures like those in Germany, Switzerland, the countries of Scandinavia, and (to a lesser extent) the United States.
This style relies on long messages that contain all necessary information for communication.
The slow speed of this form of communication can be cumbersome but it can be quickly modified when needed.
On the other hand, there’s an implicit communication approach which is more commonly used in Asian cultures.
This style puts emphasis on non-verbal symbols or physical gestures to make up for verbal conversations.
It makes for faster communication since people pay less attention to spoken words but can make it harder to modify or adapt meanings because they rely on traditional historical gestures and context instead.
In conclusion, it’s important to recognize that the way we communicate varies among different cultures and each form comes with its advantages and disadvantages.
Being aware of this helps us navigate various situations more effectively while still preserving our culture identities during interactions with other cultural backgrounds.
Cultural Practices Influence How We Communicate, Move And Perceive Time
Cultural differences shape more than just the way we talk to each other – they also affect the way we walk and perceive time.
One of the author’s students filmed people walking in two different cultures, New Mexico and Arizona, and discovered that there were 15 distinct differences in how members of these cultures moved.
Additionally, cultural practices can alter our perceptions of time.
People in Northern Europe and America view it as a linear entity which should be rigidly scheduled with set deadlines, while those in Latin America and Middle Eastern countries prioritize tasks on the fly with flexible deadlines.
This explains why being late to an appointment is much more tolerated in Latin America; it is simply part of their culture.
In conclusion, beyond verbal communication, different cultures have different ways of using their bodies and perceiving time – both aspects are uniquely defined by that culture’s own customs.
A Tale Of Two Cultures: The Differences In Values And Institutions
It’s no surprise that misunderstandings can easily arise between different cultures, since each of us views the world through our own unique cultural lens.
Different expectations about what is considered appropriate behavior can lead to shock and even offense when somebody from a foreign culture does something that clashes or conflicts with what we believe is correct or acceptable.
As an example, consider the hotel industry in Japan.
Here it would not be unusual for hotel staff to move your luggage to a new room without asking your permission if somebody else needs the room urgently – for example, a large family.
To most Japanese people this is just normal practice, and even connotes familiarity and inclusion towards their guest.
But an American or European traveler (who associate space with private ownership and personal status) may be shocked and insulted by such an action.
A great divide can also exist between the way institutions are run in different countries around the world – take education as just one example.
In Western cultures children are prepped for employment through competitive and task-oriented schooling whereas Pueblo Indians prefer a more informal method where knowledge is acquired directly from peers, role models and experts – with play coming before study.
The Importance Of Understanding Different Cultures: How Interacting With Others Can Help Us Uncover New Perspectives
It’s no easy task to fully understand a culture different from your own – it takes a lot of effort, patience and understanding.
However, this can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience that broadens one’s horizons.
Take Japan, for example: people there exhibit degrees of politeness depending on their relationship with someone else.
This practice has its origin in the country’s feudal history where social standing was determined by a person’s wealth and status – with those in lower-ranks needing to show respect to those in higher ranks.
Even if you are able to familiarize yourself with the basics of another culture, it is not enough if you want to truly appreciate its complexities.
To do so requires more than just knowledge and facts – understanding other cultures also requires being able to look beyond your own cultural lens.
We need to consider why certain behaviors exist, rather than merely being content knowing what they are.
The core message of Beyond Culture by David Livermore is that our cultural backgrounds have a major influence over how we communicate and behave, and that by interacting with people from different cultures, we open up the possibilities for understanding contrasting behaviors.
One way to approach conflicting values between cultures is to not let our own views shut us out of new opportunities.
Ask questions first before judging someone’s behavior.
That not only shows you are making an effort to be considerate, but it can also help you learn something new!
Ultimately, the book encourages readers to embrace curiousness and make an effort to recognize different points of view in order to foster more meaningful relationships with those from different backgrounds and cultures.