culture and language

The Wave and a Lesson in Cultural Awareness

cultureWhenever I speak to a group about culture and communication, the first thing we do is brainstorm and name elements of culture. We humans are pretty good at this exercise, but there are some favorite cultural elements, like food and music, that can be difficult to use as concrete examples of how different values and expectations can cause breakdowns in communication.

I’ve noticed over time that a great example of the difficulty of functioning in a multicultural environment is navigating how we’re expected to greet each other, and how we say farewell. Here we go:
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culture and language

Why Cultural Diversity is Hard

Cultural diversity is not appreciating food and music from other countries.  Appreciating food and music from other countries is food and music appreciation.

Functioning in a culturally diverse environment (your workplace, say) means accomplishing a task without being a total jerkface to others.  It’s tempting to think, Well I’ll just be polite and respectful to everyone and their culture, and everything will be great!  We’ll all go out after work to enjoy food and music and it’ll be the best time ever!

No. Continue reading “Why Cultural Diversity is Hard”