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Why Cultural Communication Differences are Important

We often talk about how culturally diverse the staff and student pool are at ME Education, but have you considered WHY this is important?

The way we interact with each other is crucial. A large part of the way we learn to do this, is during our school going years. Cultural communication differences can make or break interviews, social engagements and practically every interaction a child or adult will encounter during their lifetime. It’s important to understand the nuances involved and the best way to learn this, is through exposure.

What is ‘Culture?’

Before we can discuss the differences in cultural communication, let's understand what ‘culture’ refers to.

“Culture is the pattern of taken-for-granted assumptions about how a given collection of people should think, act, and feel as they go about their daily affairs”— Joynt & Warner, 1996

When people interact with one another, each one brings their own set of expectations about how the other will behave. These expectations are taught through our families, friends and communities. We simply ‘get used to’ what we grow up with or are frequently exposed to.

When these expectations are not met, it can cause friction or lead to uncomfortable or embarrassing encounters.

In a world as ‘small’ as ours, where we are exposed to different cultures all the time, it is important to understand how to be respectful and understanding when faced with unfamiliar behaviours.

American Anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher, Edward T Hall is best noted for his contribution to the classification of communication styles, based on cultural variables.

Context: High-Context versus Low-Context Cultures

Have you heard the saying, “Don’t beat around the bush?”