INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCE 4
Cultureis one of the most identifying features that can be associated with aparticular group. In case one group or an individual has a differentculture, it becomes exceedingly difficult to make an understanding ofwhat the people from a different culture may be trying to do or themeaning they try to give to some words or a phrase (Kutz,2013).Sometimes, people that speak a similar language may not understandone another as a result of intercultural barriers. This is becausedifferent cultures attach different meanings to given words orphrases. This is what I came to notice, when I went for globalfestivals. The festivals were well represented with almost 20 personsfrom every continent. I had earlier thought that as long as one is ina position to express him/herself in English, one could be in aposition to share and understand everyone from any part of the world.However, all this changed when the group I was participating inencountered another group from Europe. When participating in thefestivals during the first day, I encountered several individualsfrom Europe and I thought I could understand the language that theywould talk since most of them were talking in English. However, Icould not trace what they meant sometimes because they used differentEnglish that I was not used to. It was at that time that I came tounderstand that I could not understand the language they were usingbecause they were using different words and slangs from mine tocommunicate. This brought an intercultural difference. At first, Ithought I was the only one that did not understand the group, but itturned out that both groups did not understand one another.
Inan attempt to overcome this intercultural barrier, the group I wasparticipating in sought the help of an interpreter. The interpreterthat the group sought had learnt well the language, includingdifferent aspects that the group from Europe and the group I wasinvolved in communicated. So, it became easy to understand each otherwith the help of the interpreter. As the interpreter familiarizedboth groups with some common phrases that both groups used most ofthe time, it became exceedingly easy to understand each other. Forinstance, after the other group leant the common slangs that ourgroup was using and fellow team members learnt theirs, it waspossible to comprehend each other.
Anotherway that was used in overcoming intercultural barriers entailedlearning from each other (Kutz,2013)as time went by. During the festivals, different groups were allowedto learn from each this made it easy to share different aspects thatwere different. However, this took some time as some of theparticipants were not prepared to learn. Alternatively, individualsthat had already received an advice earlier on what to expect, wereready to learn from each group.
Inaddition, in order to overcome the intercultural barriers, theintervention of counselors was critical. Counselors provideddifferent information on what could create barriers amid two or moreculturally different groups and provided that it was possible toovercome these barriers through avoiding these actions. Among themwere avoiding judging actions of others from own perspectives, beingobservant and listening prior to making a comment, and avoidingstereotyping. Through these actions, it was possible to overcomeintercultural barriers.
Kutz,K. (2013). Barriersto Cross Cultural Communication.Munich: Grin Verlag.