Discussion Questions Week 3: Communication Across Borders

As a communicator across cultures and languages, I feel both challenged and privileged when it comes to languages. I am a native English speaker, and this is a privilege because English is known as the unofficial language of business, and a dominant global language. So it is definitely an advantage to have a strong grasp on the English language because so many other people also speak English, whether they are also native speakers like me, or non-native speakers. At the same time, I feel I am at a disadvantage because English is the only language I speak. I have found myself in situations where I do not have the privilege of communication with people who also speak English and they are very difficult to navigate. When I have traveled to other countries and found myself immersed in foreign cultures, I felt very out of my comfort zone because I could not adapt and speak the host language, which I feel helps build a stronger rapport when communicating interculturally. I feel that not knowing other languages limits people from gaining the most accurate insight on a culture possible. I think it is very useful to know more than one language. Even if English is your native language and many other people are likely to speak it, it does not hurt to expand your own language capabilities, which can also give you a different perspective on verbal communication and on other cultures. Communicating across cultures also makes me feel both privileged and challenged. Living in the United States, I was raised in a biracial family, which exposed me to several cultures. I feel that this exposure and these experiences provided me with a strong capacity to appreciate and understand other cultures and how to communicate with members of other cultures. But I would say I feel disadvantaged communicating across cultures when language is the only barrier standing in the way of successful understanding and interactions.

Based on the readings this week, regarding communicating across borders, I  find cultural relativism to be the most useful and supportive strategy when communicating with people across borders, as it promotes keeping and open-mind, understanding and recognizing differences, and working to overcome those differences in order to achieve mutual goals.


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