Living in an Increasingly Intercultural World: Strive for mutual cultural understanding

Lately I’ve been thinking, there are a lot of international and intercultural issues out there that need to be solved. That’s a fact. These issues revolve around various and different aspects of life – of differences in cultures and cultural approaches. That’s also a fact. So …what can we do about it?

Personally, having a higher educational background in among others intercultural communication and having traveled and lived abroad various times, I think we need to start there by creating mutual cultural understanding. Because, by creating mutual cultural understanding foreign cultures inbetween, we’ll create a basic understanding for difference. This won’t only be beneficial in international and intercultural cooperations. No, this will also be benefial to own culture(s), as it will create perspective. As a result, we might see a broadened acceptance and respect for differences in general.

Cultural understanding

In this sense, I am questioning: Why do children not have a intercultural communications class in school? Around the world, we have all sorts of different classes that are vital for our up bringings into adulthood, however, why not in intercultural communication? Isn’t that also something that is vital for our future!?

In an intercultural communications class, the children could learn about cultural diversity, social norms and believes of foreign cultures and make these cultures less foreign to them. They could learn about these cultures and not just from a religious or political/social science perspective. No, from a basic understanding for these cultures. Furthermore, they could, with the help of modern technology, talk with and discuss certain cultural differences with children from other parts of the world. I’m not saying they would have to discuss big comprehensive issues, however, rather cultural differences in for example cuisine, clothing, leisure activities, wheather, work forces, political systems etc. Basic aspects of a culture. I think this would really help the future generations to have a more open-minded and welcoming attitude towards solving cultural differences. I absolutely believe that it’s vital for the future! Moreover, in an increasingly international and intercultural world, isn’t this the next logical step for our school systems around the world? …To create mutual cultural understandings: To learn that cultures are different, to learn that it’s okay to be different, to learn to accept and respect other cultures with an open mind. Just like we want our own culture to be accepted and respected, not (pre-)judged. I think so. What do you think?

xo P!


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13 thoughts on “Living in an Increasingly Intercultural World: Strive for mutual cultural understanding

  1. I will totally agree with you. I also believe that a part of racism (not all of it) is a “learned” trait.

    Have you ever seen small children on a playground: African-American, White, Asian, Latino, ALL PLAYING TOGETHER? Do you think they “know” about racism? NO! They just want to play and have fun with each other! They don’t know (and could care less) about other cultures, color of skin, or religious beliefs. I think a lot of this may come from parents who might “teach” their children, “Don’t play with them because they are black. Don’t invite them over to the house to play because they are Muslim. Don’t hang around them because ________ (fill in the blank).”

    We need to accept other cultures, colors, creeds, etc…. We’ll get along so much better, and probably learn some really cool things about them!

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  2. Oh yes! One of my biggest criticisms of my own school education was that, as I went to Catholic schools, we predominantly learnt about Christianity and nothing about other religions. As though all the school kids were Catholic! I always think if I were to have kids I would want them to learn about all religions, from a perspective that teaches them it’s okay if someone believes something different to you, and that it’s okay to not believe at all! And religion is just the tip of the iceberg of mutual understanding!

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  3. A intercultural communications class in schools is a great starting point but I think certain cultures, ours in the USA for one, might tend to be one-sided and biased in its curriculum. I have found no matter how much I have read or studied about a country the best way to understand the country and it’s people is to visit, feet on the ground, and actually interact with them. Sit for a meal, coffee or as we have discovered staying with them in their homes and even talking to people in the laundramats. We have opened our minds and hearts to other ways of life and in our short visits we understand them a little better and have enjoyed all the citizens we have encountered. TRAVEL is one key to break down our stereo-typical ideas we have of other cultures without the biases of an education system.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I absolutely agree with you: That travel is key. However, children don’t always have that opportunity, and as we need to teach this to children in particular, we need to start in school. Especially, if the parents can’t manage that task themselves. And I think that cross-cultural cooperation is key in this relation:)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely support your idea of introducing Intercultural Communication classes at school. Especially today in our globalised world, that somehow unites racism and globalisation, our children must be taught that there is never only one particular right or wrong way to look at ourselves. Whether is is about religion, gender or culture in general – learning about the different cultures there are eventually unites us all again by realizing how similar we still are. Love, friendship, despair, fear, passion – it’s all felt the same way.
    Great post, especially now with Paris in our hearts and our minds, we need to be even more aware of the importance of successful communication without borders.

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  5. I think this is a great concept and it is becoming increasingly easier to connect world wide (minus the minor time zone thing). One thing I’ve noticed having recently moved from the US to China is that I had the opportunity in my home country to experience some of this diversity first hand and it ultimately helped me be open to pursuing a foreign assignment. While travel and personal interaction are the best ways to learn/remember, they need not be the only way. Early exposure to different cultures could help promote acceptance and ensure future cooperation.

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  6. What so many young people like is a world view. You have been lucky and have that view which in large part was created by your travel and thirst for knowledge and meeting people. Most young people in the US do not have the opportunity in school or at home to travel abroad. However, you are correct about Intercultural Communications. The technology exists to have face to face communication world wide with translation..the challenge is to use it with all young people. And now I continue to Pray for the people of Paris…so many challenges ahead…take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There was a time long ago and it was a very strong story in the old testament. The Tower of Babylon. Although some may say it’s only a tale of old. In the basis of the story was unification of men and women across cultures. This is the real story of intercultural and unified world, working on a single goal.

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