Friday, October 12, 2007

Tuesday reading; Who am I, and who are you?

I think it's important to take into account that I am not an expert on cultural differences. I am, however, someone that does work with different cultures everyday and also have a large number of friends who are not American and continue to live in their home countries. Sometimes I feel like I still do not have a comprehensive understanding of what makes some cultures tick, but then I get a call from someone who needs me to interpret for someone who doesn't speak fluent english or who just needs to internationally dial. Specialisation is a wide spectrum.

When you start to explore the Internet, it's important to take into account who the author is.
First of all, everyone's individual background makes them have a certain bias even if they try to be objective. I was reading on International Public Relations research today and the researchers mentioned that halfway through some indepth interviews they realised their own cultural backgrounds were making some messages misunderstood, and also having some affect on the interpretation of the answers. This is important to understand. After all, who's the more experienced parenting expert: a new mother of 3 months or a mother of 5 all of whose children have gone to college? Not easily answered, but it does give you perspective on what that person's viewpoint is and what it is influenced by.

That leads me to today's source which I think is an excellent resource for my research topic of intercultural differences: This site is for people who are from abroad that plan to study in the US. It's imperative to understand how you're perceived in order to fit in better with different cultures, and also to understand your own biases before doing research. It's free and designed for an educational study abroad program, so I think it's trustworthy as well!

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