Intercultural communication is a study of cultural difference through communication and it occurs when large and important cultural differences create dissimilar interpretations and expectations about how to communicate competely (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 what I have learned from the course ‘Intercultural communication”, then sharing a short story about the culture shock I have ever experienced and giving some guidelines for effective intervultural comunication.
In the beginning of the course, I have learnt 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. Discussing this topic, I discovered my country tends to be more collectivism and understood why people in my country often highly appreciate the benefits of the gropu 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 culture norm in order to put the knowledge we took into practice. In addition, we also acknowledge about 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.