Since I am an English teacher here in Germany, much of what I do is discuss intercultural communication. It is a wonderfully interesting topic that I one day would fully enjoy officially learning more about (and obtaining a certification in so as to appease the German culturist in me). This blog post, I feel, is about something we Americans and English speakers take for granted and that I often have to actually be reminded of anymore if I interact with Americans (especially one’s that are not used to German communication styles, as I find myself becoming more ‘German’ all the time in that regard), especially if I am on American soil!
The author makes some very good points with this post, otherwise I would not have reblogged it.
When first-time expatriates arrive in the United States they are often underprepared for the North American way of communicating. This is especially true for Central Europeans who tend to assume that
i) they learned enough about American communication patterns via literature and media consumption, and/or
ii) communication styles are very similar and thus, differences can be neglected. The trouble typically begins when expats do not detect or even ignore the transatlantic gap. Unfortunately, many Americans also lack the communicative fine-tuning to realize that their new colleagues from Germany or Austria share information differently. That’s when intercultural team building efforts can hit a roadblock. However, companies and their employees can prepare for these obstacles.
I compiled what I consider the 9 key aspects of the US-American communication style worth internalizing. You can get them as a FREE white paper over at my company website. Just leave your name and…
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A short video about why we need to change how we teach our students…
While talking about culture shock, I think it is also important to address the dimensions of culture learning, as we all also go through these as we travel and learn about other places, cultures and people and as we learn about ourselves through this process. Depending on how well we deal with and understand the dimensions of culture learning may allow us to better navigate culture shock. In Cultural Awareness, a book by Tomalin & Stempleski, there are five dimensions of culture learning and they look a little like this: