Intercultural Communication - Essay Example

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Intercultural Communication The intercultural communication experience I had involves the countries of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Having grown up in Saudi Arabia and later moving to the United States the experience of integrating in American culture was significantly than that of Saudi Arabia…
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Download file to see previous pages Still, I experienced a number of initial communication barriers upon encountering American society. One of the major barriers was in terms of language. While I spoke English, it was not strong. Furthermore, I had to become accustomed to American slang and colloquialisms. Another barrier was in terms of greetings, as I was not used to unique American versions and had to familiarize myself with these elements. A major difference cultural I experienced between the two cultures was in terms of religion. Religious differences are not so obvious at first sight, but after a time it becomes obvious that there are not so many Muslim people in the United States. Christian churches have a different shape, usually with crosses and towers, while in Saudi Arabia mosques with minarets are more common (Anderson 2006). The churches also have bells rather than a call to prayer. Drinking alcohol is more common in the United States, and people are generally more informal with each other in public. America is a very big country with many different types of terrain. There are different tribes and cultures within America, including Inuit in the north, and Native Americans all across the country as well as people from Europe, India and all over the world who have settled there. Saudi Arabia has different sub-cultures too but they are fewer and not so noticeable. The country has a lot of desert and this has influenced its main cultural features (Moqtasami 2005). A surprising similarity between the two countries is that both of them are very friendly and welcoming to strangers. They like to offer food and drink to visitors, and are proud to show off their culture. This lessens the differences between the two nations and helps them to understand each other better. Another of the predominant intercultural communication barriers I experienced was in terms of fashion. The first thing that a visitor from Saudi Arabia notices when arriving in the United States is that everyone wears different clothing: suits or jeans for men, and a great variety of dresses, trousers and suits for women. The full-length robe is worn by men in Saudi Arabia, as well as the tagiyah and ghutra to cover the head. Women mainly wear the abaya and veil when outside the home. This shows respect for tradition. In the United States there is a greater choice available for people, and clothes are a way of expressing different kinds of personality and individuality. Still, another major intercultural difference I experienced was in terms of entertainment. Among these differences were the appreciation of American sports and movies. At the time I was living in Saudi Arabia the government prohibited public movie theatres (Mackey 1987). Instead, I would spend much of my time reading. Upon moving to America the experience of American television and movies was a major cultural shock that I only gradually became accustomed to. After a period of time, however, I came to appreciate American actors and television programming and bridge the cultural divide. When I reflect on my cultural experience coming from Saudi Arabia to the United States I recognize there are a number of things I learned. Upon entering American culture the cultural communication barriers were greatly intimidating and I began to feel that I was fundamentally different than those residing in the United States. As I began to bridge the cultural divide I came to learn a number of things ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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