August 19, 2016

Overcoming Culture shock and Avoiding No-no

We all belong to human race, but live in different regions or continents throughout the world. Human race can be divided into different groups due to their geographical habitat. The people from each group share the same language, history and culture. Different people who live in different geographical places on earth have different culture. Culture refers to the traits of a population’s behavior, values, practices, beliefs and religion. We need to understand and respect diverse culture around the world. These days people travel or visit different countries in order to be friendly or familiar with different group of people or races around the globe. Due to tremendously advance telecommunications and transportation, we can get closer to overseas countries and communicate with them easily and conveniently.
Nowadays, many people work in different countries for a long- term or short- term assignment. e.g. the diplomats, businessmen, tourists, journalists. Under these circumstances, they face different culture and they ought to obey the host country’s culture and deal with local people in harmonious way. Whoever visits or works or studies in a foreign country, he or she ought to show respect and behave in conformity with the cultural norms of the people of the country concerned. Culture is an identity of a race which reflects the standard of its society. Every group of people in different society cherishes, loves and values their own culture. We should not have narrow-minded attitudes towards alien cultures. We should get rid of ethnocentric feelings so as to avoid cultural misinterpretation about other people’s culture. Some narrow-minded people say that they must protect the influence of alien culture. Generally, this concept seems acceptable to some extent. However, as for multicultural societies like The US and Singapore, it is totally impossible to protect the influence of alien culture. No matter the different cultures prevail in a certain society, the most important thing is that we must live together with mutual respect and sincerity. Furthermore, the practice of giving importance to all cultures in the world is a must indeed. We all must cherish our own culture and respect alien cultures as well. We shouldn’t discriminate nor insult to different cultures of the people around the world.
As we all know, culture shock is a feeling of uncertainty, confusion or anxiety that people experience when visiting, doing business in or living in a society that is different from their own. Culture shock can arise from a person’s unfamiliarity with local customs, language and acceptable behavior, since norms can vary significantly across cultures. The feeling of culture shock can dissipate over time. Visitors to a new country, for example, will at first be unfamiliar with the nuances of local culture, but will learn how to adapt as interactions with people continue. Culture shock can be daunting for those who do business or study abroad, but they need to overcome it with some helpful acts or behaviors in dealing with the people of different cultures.
Basically, they might face language barrier which is the most important problem for the visitors to communicate with the locals. Using English language could be a part of solution to the problem, but not everyone can speak English in some countries. The visitor who is going to do business on long term basis must make an effort to learn the local language for the purpose of communications with the locals. Then he or she can achieve smooth and effective communications with the people of the host country. It takes time to acculturate and adapt to new surroundings, a new culture and a new life style. So the patience is required. The visitors and students should get to know people in their new environment. They need to respectfully ask questions, read local newspapers and attend a variety of traditional festivals and events. They shouldn’t take cultural familiarity or knowledge at face-value. This means that superficial knowledge about rituals, customs and protocol can be misleading. They must treat the locals with sense of humor so that friendly relationship can be established and the locals will admire the visitors. Keeping open mind is helpful for them to understand the culture of the people in the country they are staying for doing business or studying as well.
If the culture shock persists among global people, we will not be able to deal with each other for trade, diplomatic relations and socio-economic co operations and tourism etc. How can we communicate? We need to overcome the culture shock by learning alien cultures broadly. For instance, if a certain westerner has to work or study in some eastern countries, he or she ought to learn about the cultures of eastern countries beforehand. Conversely, a certain easterner has to learn about the cultures of the western countries if he or she has to work or study in western countries beforehand.
As a result, we will be able to facilitate the process of cross-cultural understanding smoothly. Mutual respect and understanding on culture are fundamental requirements for establishing the foundation of friendship or meaningful relationship among nations in the world as well. Also we must develop the meaningful relations with those around us in a foreign country in which we stay there for some purposes. Being not very friendly among the global people and lack of learning about alien cultures cause the feeling of culture shock. When we suddenly expose to an unfamiliar foreign country for the purpose of long- term study or business or work, we definitely feel culture shock due to our above stated weaknesses.
It is also very important to avoid no-no or proscription when you are in a foreign country or in a certain community. No-no is a thing or a way of behaving that is not acceptable in a particular situation. No-no is proscribed by a society as improper or unacceptable act or behavior or thing. No-no is similar to that of taboo in social life in any society indeed. You must be familiar with the customs or ritual or tradition or religion of the local people in a certain society. For examples; In Myanmar, foot wearing in the Buddhist monastery compound and within the precincts of pagoda is definite no-no. Hugging and kissing of adults in public are also no-nos in Myanmar. In Singapore, chewing the quid of betel and chewing gum in public areas are no-nos. You must bear in mind that you will encounter different social situations when you are visiting in a different society or in different community.
We must avoid doing things or a way of behaving which is proscribed or prohibited in a community or in a foreign country. It is compulsory to avoid no-no in human society regardless of any race or any country or any community. In other words, avoiding no-nos reveal the due respect for multicultural norms or customs in respective societies and communities in the world. When we stay or visit any country, we will come across with such prohibitions and we should not neglect these customary rules or disciplines or religious values. We must follow dos and avoid don’ts in visiting countries so that we can develop goodwill and understanding among human beings.
The practice of overcoming culture shock and avoiding no-nos will lead us to convenient and harmonious relationships with other people in cultural differences in the world. It is advisable for the people, who plan to visit or study or work abroad, must make preparation for learning specific alien culture. If they do so, they will be able to overcome the culture shock in foreign countries. Use information technology and explore different cultures on earth easily!!!


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