How to deal with culture differentiation
by Rico Kurniawan
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Being direct, careless, strict are somewhat describing Western culture. Make the listeners feel frightened but somehow full intimacy because of the strong eye contact is unexplainable shock for foreigners. Foreigners tend to be polite, sensitive when they visit another country for the first time, honesty that Western gives just sometimes hit appropriate or inappropriately in foreigners’ heart.
Conversely, being indirect, careful, inaccurate do not necessarily mean Eastern culture. They avoid eye contact to show respect which being described as low self confidence by ones who like to have full contact with their eyes. Demonstrating humbleness will be presented as show-off by different eyes.
Everyone struggles to find the truth as they said “the most righteous one”. Adapting is the key word. It was agreed that nobody’s perfect in this earth. To find the truth of which culture is right, the answer is none of them is wrong. Understanding them is how babies put their first feet on the floor without help when trying to walk. Being humble to understand others’ culture is not that easy as it may sound because of culture shock which Mr. Hofstede implied will be the worst experience of whole time.
Culture shock is when one’s experiencing new environment of hospitality, nature, rules, regulations, personality, etc. He/she strives to show which he thinks is right whereas people say it is totally wrong. It usually strikes foreigners who visit another part of the world for the first time. Having familiarity of culture shock will be the best first step of understanding new surroundings.
Secondly, in understanding new culture, it is necessary to learn the principal of the culture. For little example, Indonesians consider saying disagreement right in front of person who brings the opinion is impolite. Even if it is extremely important, they will express the dissimilarity with indirect objection. When looking at Dutch culture which think it is common to give protest when and wherever you want, there is big chance that will be miscommunication between both cultures. On the other hand, time is crucial for Dutch people, if you are late despite the reasons that you may have, low commitment will come first in their mind. In contrast, Indonesians are very flexible in time, so flexible they have “rubber clock” as verbal expression. Coming late for ten to fifteen minutes is normal, fifteen to half an hour reaches abnormal but no commitment point of view engaged. No culture is more superior to others; it is just a matter of understanding.
Communicate the understandings is the next step to adapt fully in new culture. Different brain, different environment, different activities are what all individual has. If a person judges somebody else stupid does not mean that guy is stupid but unavoidably the person who judges doesn’t understand. Judgment always comes from one’s point of view. In order to find good judgments, communication is the answer.
When ones think that he understands the culture, better be uncertain. Because when the understanding is not communicated, it is possibly a great misjudge. People living in the culture and familiar with the situation are the experts, so communicate with them is unquestionably best solution.
Certainty brings confidence. After getting the guaranteed understanding, adaptation flows naturally in ones’ mind. Adaptation does not mean forgetting own culture and being comfortable with new culture. People have the identity which is raised when ones is born. Getting out from own identity can bring crisis in personality.
To adapt means to feel and act comfortably and confidently with new culture relying on right understanding. This means assertively people will perform best in the new culture, and somehow people around will see them as their own family not a foreigner anymore.
Lastly, phrase from bible states “And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful”. Keep maintaining to learn not only about people but also environment, business life, school, religion in order to fulfil our necessary uses.
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