Communicating and Adapting across Cultures: Living and Working in the Global Village

Communicating and Adapting across Cultures: Living and Working in the Global Village

Communicating and Adapting across Cultures: Living and Working in the Global Village

Communicating and Adapting across Cultures: Living and Working in the Global Village

Synopsis

Today, more Americans than ever are going abroad to visit, work, or study. Increasingly, the ability to communicate and work in cross-cultural situations is seen as an important determinant of success in business, government, education, and the social services. Being successful depends less on what you know of a particular culture than it does on what you know about managing new cultural situations. This book provides a comprehensive and practical guide to communicating, learning, and adapting within any new cultural environment. The skills learned from this book are essential to success and can be put to use in any new culture, anywhere in the world.

Excerpt

Every day, thousands of people leave the familiar behind, heading into new environments: college in France, the Peace Corps in Malaysia, a transfer to the Tokyo office. These are cultural transitions -- movement from a place where the rules are known and where things feel right and comfortable, to one where nothing seems to make much sense at first.

Does this prospect seem a little intimidating? If so, you're not alone. We're a mobile society, and getting more so all the time. Many of us will make not just one, but several of these transitions during our life. Whereas only a few generations ago it was not unusual to stay in the town where you were born all your life, today more and more of us are likely to make a major cultural transition at some point, and live among people fundamentally different from ourselves.

If you were moving from Los Angeles to Boston, you probably wouldn't give the question of managing this transition much thought. In fact, it probably wouldn't occur to you at all. And yet, you'd understand and expect that there would be adjustments to be made, a certain period of getting used to the new place, the people, and the way they do things.

Consider, then, how much more important this transition is when you move to a foreign country, and work there. Imagine how you'd feel if none of the familiar support systems -- banking, the telephone system, language, stores -- were the same. Suppose you had to figure them out, one step at a time, without a handy reference guide. And imagine that, at the end of the process, when you've finally mastered most of it, your life doesn't return to what it was before. You're not a visitor in the new culture now-you're a resident. Understanding how to do this effectively-how to manage difference-will not only . . .

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