Category Archives: intercultural training

Viewing the Ukraine Crisis From Russia’s Perspective


James Joyce’s famous statement that “history is a nightmare” from which we should try to awake, aptly describes current events in the Ukraine.  All nations involved in these events are biased by the remembered, misremembered, forgotten, and mythologized history they carry in their heads.

Source: www.counterpunch.org

 “Our national memories have the passion and power to drive us blindly to hatreds and to war”

History is actually biased opinions based on popular stories that people believe as facts and do not challenge. Those stories are used to exacerbate our patriotism: “our stories” versus “the “enemy stories”. Stories are used in propaganda  to manipulate the public opinion toward a common goal : eliminating the “enemy” and to consolidate political power, financial interests etc.

For example, Hillary Clinton, on March 5, said that Putin’s concern for Russians in Ukraine is like Hitler’s concern for Germans in Poland and Czechoslovakia.

This is a very good example of manipulation:

Labeling Putin as “Hitler” is a sure way to activate a demon in the American national memory and to mobilize the United States to again fight the evil personified (just like Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Chavez, Allende or Gaddafi , to name a few of many leaders that have been called “Hitler” by American politicians)

Russians are looking at Ukraine as increasing the threat of being invaded. After the collapse of the USSR, many previous Soviet republics in Eastern Europe are now members of NATO with military bases. Ukraine and Belarus are actually the last soviet republics that are not EU members.

Each era of  Russian history has had its military super-power, and each super-power in turn attacked Russia: Turks, Poles, Swedes, French, Germans, British, and Japanese have each invaded Russia more than once.

See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Why employers value intercultural skills


New research shows that employers around the world value staff who understand the role of culture at work. Source: www.britishcouncil.org

What do employers understand by ‘intercultural skills ?

  1.  Ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints.
  2.  Respect for others’ and ‘adapting to different cultural settings
  3.  Accepting cultural differences
  4.  Speaking foreign languages
  5.  Open to new ideas and ways of thinking

 How do employers evaluate job candidates for intercultural skills?

  1. Strong communication throughout the interview and selection process
  2. The ability to speak foreign languages
  3. Demonstration of cultural sensitivity in the interview
  4. Experience studying overseas
  5. Experience working overseas

 What Is Your Company Doing To Develop Intercultural Skills ? 

See on Scoop.itInternational Career

Where are you really from ? An Expat Perspective On Racism


Womanblackman

I found the question in this article very interesting:   Is It Racist to Ask People Where They’re From?
As an expat, I am asked all the time where are you really from ?  and I usually have different answers for different audiences. However to many expats, they don’t feel comfortable with this question especially if they have been living in a foreign country for quite a long time and interpret the question as obviously you are not from there, you are different.
After 25 years of expatriation, I still have some mixed feelings about this question but sometimes it is good to feel different and not from “here”.  Being a French in France is actually harder for me than living abroad, I don’t know anything about popular TV shows or the secret lives of French politicians and I have often a very different view on sensitive questions as I am living on the “other side”.
When I lived in Japan in the 90s I obviously did not look Japanese and I have been asked frequently where I was from, but at that time, being French and saying I was from Paris, were magic words and I was very well treated both at work and with perfect strangers in the streets. I was kind of “exotic” there. However Caucasians were better treated than non-Japanese Asians, especially Chinese, Koreans or Filipinos.
In the US, when I lived in New York City and 8 months pregnant, strangers were giving me a “god bless you” very often, then we had the 9/11 dramatic events and my son was born 12 days later. However I got unpleasant remarks when I said I was French because at that time the French president and the government refused to send troops to Baghdad as if I had anything to do with this decision.
Altogether I had a very positive experience in NYC. I also lived in Atlanta and we were very well-integrated partly because of my son being at the Atlanta International School but generally speaking, Atlanta is a very international city. However I was shocked to see that nothing really changed since Martin Luther King Jr, I saw a lot of segregation between African-Americans and White Americans. Each community including Latin American people had their own neighborhood with very strict boundaries. I then realized that America was far from being a melting pot !
Then we spent one year in New Jersey and it was painful to have in the neighborhood listing “the French” instead of our family name.
Now we live in Russia, I don’t have any specific problems with racism, the “where are you from? ” is still there since my Russian is pretty basic but unlike the stereotypes, I find Russians very courteous with men giving their seats to women in the Metro for example. But here again even for wealthy expatriates,  it is better to be a Caucasian than having a dark skin color.

How do you feel about being asked : where are you really from ?

Related Article:  Encountering racism abroad — or why I sometimes wish I was white

What Does Interculturality Mean ?


 

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A number of studies on the development of intercultural skills and competences have shown that first-hand experience of ‘otherness’ and even sojourns in a foreign country are not sufficient conditions to foster interculturality.

Both study abroad and intercultural education literature state that, in addition to experience, intercultural learning needs reflection and analysis, and that immersion in a different culture does not in itself reduce stereotypical perceptions of otherness.

Interculturality does not mean comparing two or more countries, nor learning to adapt to a specific ‘national culture’.

Rather, the concept implies, for example:

  • Understanding how different types of identities (eg gender, age, racial, ethnic, national, geographical, historical, linguistic) impact on communication with others
  • Interpreting what people say about their culture as evidence of what they wish others to see about themselves, rather than as the ‘truth’ about a particular culture
  • Exploring the role of power in dominant discourses (media, political, institutional) and reflect on how these discourses affect the way we perceive people from other backgrounds.

Read Full article : Mobility is not a value in itself: intercultural education resources for mobile students – European Association for International Education

Related articles: 

 

 

Indulgence vs. Restraint – Do we need this 6th Dimension in Intercultural Training and Coaching ?


What insights does Hofstede’s 6th and least frequently discussed dimension on Indulgence vs. Restraint give us to help us to collaborate more effectively with people from other cultures? See on www.communicaid.com

I don’t think this is a valid dimension and would really like to see more validation.

For example, I don’t agree with the score differences between France and USA, France shown as medium indulgence and United States as very indulgent.

I don’t think United States is a more indulgent culture than France. In the USA there is no law that oblige employers to give paid holidays while in France by law people work only 35 hours/week but also have more than 5 weeks of paid holidays per year compared to 25 % of American workers that don’t take their vacation.

Paid maternity leave is also much more in France than in the US : six weeks before birth and up to 8 weeks after birth.

People don’t work on Sundays in France and you cannot do your shopping 24/7 as you do in USA, Japan or Russia (personally I think it is a wrong thing for the economy but majority of French people are against opening stores on Sundays to preserve the quality of family life)

Have you ever find this 6th dimension useful to explain some cultural differences or similarities ?

Related articles: 

American Culture: The Non Vacation Nation

Do You Work Too Hard ? Some Cultural Perspectives

 

 

Using a foreign language changes moral decisions


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

Would you sacrifice one person to save five? Such moral choices could depend on whether you are using a foreign language or your native tongue. A new study from psychologists finds that people using a foreign language take a relatively utilitarian approach to moral dilemmas, making decisions based on assessments of what’s best for the common good.

Very interesting article that brings some questions on language and moral judgement.

For example, when you use a foreign language you reduce your emotional response impacting the way you make decisions.

 With less emotional involvement people have a tendency to use utilitarian approach.

  Decisions appear to be made differently when processed in a foreign language

See on www.sciencedaily.com

Intercultural Communication at Work


See on Scoop.itGlobal Leaders

In this globalised world, communicating in intercultural contexts is not as easy as it may seem…

Anne Egros‘s insight:

When you don’t understand someone’s behavior in intercultural context, ask questions, don’t guess through your own perception.

Be aware of your own cultural bias is a good start then listen to other people and notice similarities or differences on how messages are perceived and understood by making sure there is no misinterpretation either in words, voice tone or body language.

Good demonstration at the end of this article using Anglo-Dutch Translation Guide.

See on www.spaces.nl

 

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