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Intercultural Communication

Wels, May 02

Trainer team: Josephine Sommerhuber Gerhard P. Krejci By: Manish Abraham www.manishabraham.com

Many times, each of us get stuck in the bubble of our own lives, and in a globalised world where the Intercultural interactions have increased manifold whether in business, academia or sports the need for intercultural adaptability and harmony for a better happy and satisfied society has emerged. If I want to be effective at communicating with others of different cultures, I need to understand what it is that they believe in and how they do things. In the class of Intercultural Management we were shown examples in form of live demonstrations and exercises on how the others perceive things. Communication in general is one of the more powerful gifts in this life, but it gets challenging when there is lack of knowledge and empathy. This paper is a reflection of what we learnt from the class and how I plan to implement the knowledge gained in the future. The knowledge has helped me to become a better global citizen. We got an experience on how we feel when we are in different situations or may be in a different place which you are completely unaware of. I got an experience to see the other side of the picture too. The main learning that I would take would be to be more empathetic and to listen to others and understand others in a better way. The main learnings have been something that I have been tackling for the last few years since I left India to do my bachelors in England. I got a wide range of experience as I met a lot of International students from all over the world during my time as the international officer of the University. The same was seen when I came to Austria since my course has got a lot of International students I got an opportunity to communicate with them and this communication led to a higher level of awareness about the culture of the other individual. I have become more vigilant in observing the various cultural traits of each individual. Every single thing can be a cultural trait and can be linked from the culture of an individual like the way to greet to habits to clothing What excited me was that there can be a difference in habits based on the social status of living/ bringing up, and this is something we need to be empathetic about and have an adaptable attitude. The different roles of an individual as an active or passive gave a deep insight on that when a person is more dominating he is more confident than the one who is passive but by also looking on the other side I realized that the passive person may not be that comfortable, this may be helpful in some short term deals but for a long term win- win situation this may not be helpful. I

realized that we need to give the other person a chance to explain and not dominate always. While working in International teams there may be difference in the way each individual team member may perceive things, there will be multiple solutions and approaches to tackle a problem. I learnt that there is a need to let everyone speak up and put their points and there is a need of an unbiased moderator. In case one of the team member feels offended it is my task as an individual to keep him in the team and carry him forward. Another point that is to be reflected is the usage of time, In an international team normally things take longer than normal teams but if we use time as a resource the end result of an International team is normally much better than a homogenous team this is because there is an abundant amount of knowledge which is flowing due to difference in the way different people in different countries perceive things. In the end I would like to leave with a few major things that I need to take care when interacting with people from different cultures or countries are: a. Try to enhance your knowledge about the other culture before interacting with the other culture. b. I would try to be more empathetic when I am not that aware of the other culture. c. I would try to take each member of a heterogeneous team along with me. d. I would try to be more open minded and clarify the situation and will not be afraid to take responsibilities and ask pardon. e. I will try not to stick to a point and try to take a position which is unbiased and try to understand things from the other persons perspective. Writing this reflection paper and the whole two day seminar has helped me to improve on the way I interact and communicate with the people of other culture. It has helped me to gain a higher level of understanding. The Interaction theory by the Intercultural theorist also showed me the need to change perspective of an individual. References Martin, J.N., Nakayama, T.K., (2011). Experiencing communication: 4th edition. McGraw-Hill. New York.


Appendix The attendees of the master program in Austria are as follows (# of students in brackets) in alphabetical order: Austria (17), Bangladesh (1), Belarus (1), Egypt (1), Germany (1), India (2), Iran (2), Kazakhstan (1), Mexico (1), Nepal (1), Philippines (1), Romania (1), Switzerland (1), Syria (1), United Arab Emirates (1), United States of America (1).