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The Importance Of Intercultural Communication
My story starts with me getting a roommate from Indonesia. Even though I am a Malaysian with Chinese heritage, we speak equivalent languages and there are some similarities when it comes to our culture (between Malaysian and Indonesian culture). Due to the fact of that, I believed we could live together peacefully with out any conflicts but I guess I was incorrect. I constantly consider myself an individual who is self-disciplined. Following cooking and finishing my meal, I have the habit of cleaning up cookware and kitchen utensils that I employed. But, my roommate tends to leave his plates and stuffs in the basin after finishing his meal and sometimes do not even wash it after a couple of days. At first, when I saw unwashed and oily silverware employed by my roommate, I would aid him wash it up. However, he seemed to take it for granted and did not appear to take the hint. Occasionally he would even leave leftover food and cockroaches would seem. Even worse, the sink would be filled with giant bowls filled with remnants of drenched leftovers that smell so negative specifically in the summer season. Nonetheless, I decided that I ought to just leave it there and therefore, each and every time I see unwashed and oily silverware or dishes, I would just leave them in the basin. Often, he would also use my cup due to the fact his cup was in the basin. In fact, even although I secretly hate him for not washing his dishes and the reality that he utilized my cup and he just left in in the basin without washing it, I kind of turned numb to such a scene simply because I had this stereotype in the 1st spot which Indonesians are lack of awareness of cleanliness. I believed I would put up with him and I chose not to confront him about such problem. Till 1 day, it was about 9 in the night when I was studying in my room.
My roommate knocked on my door and came in. Out of the blue, he confronted me and asked me why I did not help him wash his dishes for the past week. At that moment, I felt that it was absurdly ridiculous. I felt that just since I helped him wash his dishes in the starting did not mean that I had the obligation to wash his dishes and I told him what I thought. I also told him that we, Malaysians, typically have our own cup and do not share our cup with other folks. The subsequent factor I know is his reply enraged me. This is what he stated. “Currently, we are living together so you have to be conscious of your surroundings, even if those are my dishes you have to wash it if you see them because dishwashing is a group work. Also, it is widespread for Indonesians to share our cups and dishes. In Indonesia, no one particular will want to be your roommate if you are so calculative and fuss more than such trivial items. Some more, it is frequent for us Indonesians to not wash up our dishes and leave them in the sink until the sink is full” Hearing his explanation, I was left dumbfounded. I was so angry but at the same time, I did not want our conflict to be a destructive 1. An embarrassing silence ensued. It created me stop and believe.
In Malaysia, we are taught to be self-disciplined and washing our personal dishes is in reality frequent sense. Equivalent to the value what Japanese individuals are instilled since they are young, which is usually translated as “Do not bother or give any troubles to the folks about you”. I also hold on to this worth and considering that we are now studying in Japan, I also anticipated him to know about this. Nonetheless, this was not the case. I told him about we, Malaysians, have a tendency to be far more considerate to other folks and do not like to give other people troubles. In addition, we Malaysians think that sharing our cups with the other particular person is like sharing a toothbrush, so it is due to hygienic reasons that we believe that it not suitable.
At that moment, I was really really worried if he would be provoked simply because this was clearly a value conflict as the way of how I told him was really quite harsh and I was slightly enraged so words coming out from me may well be unpleasant. I believed he would be offended but rather of losing his temper, he apologized and said sorry. He then explained that in Indonesia, it is widespread for an individual to leave their utilised dishes in the sink and they do not think about it dirty or unhygienic. They have the habit to only wash the dishes up when the sink is complete. In addition, it is also common for an additional people under the very same roof to wash one more person’s dishes if he or she sees them filling the sink and hence he took it for granted and anticipated me to do the very same but he was unaware that in Malaysian culture, we are taught to wash our own dishes and it is impolite to let other people wash our dishes. He apologized again and then told me that he would adjust his habit and be more conscious as in he would not use my cup once more and would not leave the dishes in the sink for far more than 1 day. I also apologized as I did not tell him about this beforehand which I ended up talking lesser to him and our friendship drifted apart day by day because I was secretly being angry. I also told him that I felt negative simply because in my mind I linked him with my stereotype that Indonesians are dirty. I also told him that in the future, I would remind him if he forgot to wash his dishes once more. We reached a consensus that it was merely a cultural difference and we each let out a grin and could not quit laughing for the next three minutes.
Now our friendship became stronger and we at some point built stronger bonds. Soon after this incident, I did some soul searching. 1st of all, stereotype is the preconceived and oversimplified notion of traits typical of a individual or group. Speaking of the cause I had this stereotype that Indonesians are dirty may possibly be because when handful of years ago, I went to the Batam Islands of Indonesia with my household throughout the vacation and I remembered the streets being dirty and a lot of folks were poorly groomed and seemed shaggy. Also, the toilets have been stinky and dirty as far as I could keep in mind and such a sight left me poor impression and further shaped my stereotype towards Indonesians. Nonetheless, I was incorrect due to the fact stereotype ignore person differences and stereotype acts as assumptions that a certain culture-particular details applies to every member of that specific cultural group. I also realized that concept of hygiene is also culturally influenced. It may possibly be frequent for Indonesians to share their cups and it is completely fine for them to leave their dishes in the basin but I came to realize that such cultural pattern is not inherently correct or incorrect, and this is recognized as the relativity of cultural behavior.
On top of that, alternatively of avoiding and enduring the dilemma, I think I should have approached him earlier. This was since I usually attempted to keep away from issues that may possibly lead to conflicts, which is known as the avoiding style, or it could be explained that I had a low concern for myself and other individuals and therefore tend to withdraw or deny conflicts. Nevertheless, unexpectedly but luckily, the complete point ended up in the ideal way it could ever be as we both went with the compromising style, which both of us attempt to uncover a mutually acceptable selection.
Why is this critical? It is since all of us should create a sense of social justice, “as members of an increasingly interdependent global community, intercultural communication students have a responsibility to educate themselves, not just about fascinating cultural differences but also intercultural conflicts, the impacts of stereotyping and prejudice, and the larger systems that can oppress and deny fundamental human rights” – and to apply this knowledge to the communities in which they live and interact. In the future, if I am faced with a related situation, as an alternative of attempting to steer clear of the problem, I would initiate to talk with the other celebration about the difficulty and I guess that is the cause why I wanted to find out intercultural communications in the very first location.
I believe that learning how to recognize conflicts will come in handy in a way which enables me to deal with conflicts not just in my day-to-day life but also perhaps, in the organization planet. Furthermore, identifying the two orientations to conflict are also important. Conflicts are in fact a double-edged sword because if it is handled well, conflicts could turn into an chance to grow and a way to boost connection but if handled badly, it could be destructive to a relationship.
Final but not least, just understanding intercultural communication may not end conflicts amongst cultural groups, but the significance of the need to understand more about other groups due to the fact eventually people, not countries, negotiate peace. Interpersonal communication is important, but we also have to keep in mind that all people are influenced by conflicts in the societies we are born into as properly.
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