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Every year more and more students made a decision to study abroad. That is why they are to understand a new language and interact with new culture. The concepts of global citizenship and intercultural communication occur to be the ones that help to understand this situation and processes connected with it. So I have paid attention to these two topics to deepen into the subject and provide some evaluation and recommendations that may help to enhance and streamline the adaptation.
Two interviews were conducted to gain authoritative information. The first one was held in La Trobe University. Five students were chosen randomly and asked at lunchtime to answer six questions. The second interview took place beyond the campus. Five people of approximately the same age were selected.
They were interviewed individually, and it took about five minutes to have a talk with one of them. The majority of interviewees answered the questions with no problems and provided me with the amount of information that was enough for me to make reflections. That is why I believe these interviews to be successful.
The Concept of Global Citizenship
I had always thought that the students can provide only some abstract information about global citizenship, so I was pleasantly surprised when they started to give a decent answer. Thus, the majority of the interviewed students claimed that the concept of global citizenship is applicable to a person who treats the humankind as a whole and believes that people should emphasize that they belong more to the global community than to the particular nation.
The students of La Trobe University think that the most important is to understand that there are lots of people in the world, and all of them are connected with us. As for me, global citizenship is to be promoted in the course of education; I even see this perspective as the most significant one. I hoped that my idea would be shared and, fortunately, this happened.
Even though not all students treated themselves as global citizens, they claimed to be equal with students of various nations and underlined that at school they were already taught some aspects of global citizenship education. The teachers explained them the peculiarities of widely-known cultures and made them tolerant. They also got to know about the opportunities of international education.
On this basis, students believed that it is important to continue developing global consciousness and global competence so that it would be even easier to interact with various people (Hail, 2015). Those who do not study at La Trobe University say that they are tolerant of people from all over the world, but they believe that national citizenship is greater than the global one. Thus, they were divided in opinion with the students, who understand that global citizenship and national citizenship are significant for the process of shaping one’s identity.
Intercultural Communication and Its Peculiarities
Preparing the question about the representatives of a culture they would like to get in touch, I was almost sure that the majority will name Chinese. Due to the rapid technological development in the country, people started take an interest to them. However, our culture and language is in marked contrast to theirs.
That is why I considered that a range of difficulties will occur during the communication. Of course, some interviewees have chosen representatives from other countries but six of them preferred Chinese, which proved my assumption to be correct. Even though I am not a native speaker of English, I thought that cultural differences will be the ones that the interviewees will mention as the main problem they face (would face).
However, it turned out that the youth does not find this aspect as a real issue. They claim that in the very beginning they need some time to get adjusted to the way their partner speaks. Thus, native speakers are not always able to understand the accent and non-native speakers feel confused when the speech is too smooth and quick. Still, this problem solves itself within a short period.
Cultural stereotypes are the things we all know. To my mind, it is impossible to avoid their influence. As soon as one gets to know that he/she is speaking to a person from a different culture, the person recollects everything one heard about it. Of course, stereotypes are not always true to life, but in the majority of cases they can help to understand how to behave while interacting with a partner or what to expect from one.
The interviewees from both groups claimed that they have sometimes referred to the stereotypes while communicating, and mostly this information was of advantage. It was interesting that even if the stereotype was not true to life, the partners did not consider the reference to it to be rude and treated it as a joke. That is why I believe cultural stereotypes to be one more source of the themes for a conversation that helps to understand the person and his/her culture better.
Off-campus interviewees consider religion to be more important than students do. The last ones said that they do not usually ask about the person’s religion and just do not pay attention to it, unless the partner asked them. Others claim that religion changes the manner of conversation and underlines topics unlikely to be spoken about, as Berensmeyer and Hadfield claim (2015).
However, students pay more attention to the style of communication. I think it happens as they are to change it more often than others. It is impossible to talk to a professor as if one is your best friend. So knowing the difference between the styles, one can choose the style that will make him/she sound correct (Chen, Lawless, & González, 2015).
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Off-campus interviewees supported the fact that the norms of truthfulness and lying are different in various cultures. However, they were not able to explain their opinion. The students support the idea by connecting it with the cultural peculiarities (some consider it impolite to speak about all current problems while answering “How do you do?”).
Students said that the most difficult for non-native speakers sometimes lack understanding because they do now know the words. Off-campus interviewees believed the manner of speech to be more challenging. I think the reason of difference lies in the purpose of communication (Gasteiz, 2015).
The fact that students and people who do not study at La Trobe University have different views on global citizenship and national citizenship and their connection with each other makes me think that the first group of interviewees was influenced by their environment. As they study with students from different countries, their attitude towards them changed the opinion about global citizenship and national citizenship.
It means that more attention should be paid to these aspects, especially at school. Thus, people’s worldview will be positively influenced while studying in educational establishments. As young people defined the style of speech as the first problem, they are to deal with during the international conversation I would like to clarify the issue. To my mind, the cultural aspect is mostly neglected because the conversation is thought to happen between people of the same or almost the same age (Hundt, Zipp, & Huber, 2015).
I believe that if the difference in age is substantial, the cultural issues will be more significant (for example, how to start a conversation and how to address a partner). The interviewees also underlined that it is easier for them to communicate with the help of microblogs as they provide with the opportunity to rewrite a message, think as long as it is needed and use a dictionary (Cui & Lin, 2015).
This was mentioned by people for whom English is the second language. I also think that the microblogs can help them to learn the language more quickly as it occurs to be additional training.
On the basis of this paper, I would recommend paying more attention to the global and national citizenship at school for students to understand their interaction. Special training would be of advantage as those who are interested in the topic will get the information.
Thus, the intercultural relationships will improve. Native speakers should be aware of the problems that others face while communicating. This will improve the communication and studying processes. The understanding of other cultures is to be constantly taught to bridge the occurred gap.
- How do you understand the concept of global citizenship? What does it apply? Is it applicable to you? Why/why not?
- Global citizenship is said to be promoted within the framework of education (Hail, 2015). In what way? Provide some examples from your own experience. Is it really significant to extend global consciousness and global competence of today’s students? Why?
- With representatives of what culture would you like to get in touch (at La Trobe University)? What difficulties might you face while communicating with them? Why?
- Different factors that influence people’s individuality can be seen in local and global perspectives (Chen et al., 2015). What is more important for you (as a student of La Trobe University): to be involved in global citizenship or national citizenship? Do these two concepts interfere with each other? Why/why not?
- What role do cultural stereotypes play in the intercultural communication? Have you ever experienced their positive or negative influence? If yes, give examples.
- What role does the common language have in the perspective of this concept? Is it possible to be a global citizen without knowing lingua franca? Does the communication with the help of English give less freedom for non-native speakers?
- According to Lengel and Holdsworth, religion is “an identity category that changes the communication within and about intercultural partnerships” (Chen et al., 2015, p. 190). Do you support this idea? Why/why not?
- What are advantages of understanding different communication styles in intercultural communication? Provide examples.
- According to Berensmeyer and Hadfield (2015) the norms of truthfulness and lying are different in various cultures. Do you support this idea? Why?
- What are the difficulties that occur during the intercultural communication between native speakers and people for whom English is a second language? Have you ever faced some of them? How can one avoid these issues? Give examples.
Berensmeyer, I., & Hadfield, A. (2015). Mendacity in early modern literature and culture: An introduction. European Journal of English Studies, 19(2), 131-147.
Chen, Y., Lawless, B., & González, A. (2015). Relating across difference for social change: calling attention to intercultural partnerships in nonprofit contexts. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 8(3), 187-192.
Cui, D., & Lin, T. (2015). Professional intervention and organizational incorporation: examining journalistic use of microblogs in two Chinese newsrooms. Asian Journal of Communication, 25(4), 351-370.
Gasteiz, V. (2015). Negotiation of meaning strategies in child EFL mainstream and CLIL settings. Tesol Quarterly, 49(1), 1-27.
Hail, H. (2015). Patriotism abroad: Overseas Chinese students’ encounters with criticisms of China. Journal of Studies in International Education, 19(4), 311-326.
Hundt, M., Zipp, L., & Huber, A. (2015). Attitudes in Fiji towards varieties of English. World Englishes, 34(2), 1-20.