INTERVIEW ASSIGNMENT 7
Students’diversity through international education offers an opportunity fordeep student learning through the exposure to human differences andcomplexities. Apart from student diversity, globalization continuesto expose people to interaction, discussion, and dialogue today. Forthis reason, people are beginning to adopt the values, norms, ideas,behaviors and attitude of other people from different nations.However, most people still uphold their traditions and beliefs asthey do not retreat from their norms and value. For this reason,encouraging interaction and exposing students to a wide range ofliterature resources allows them to live vicariously through otherpeople’s experience, as well as, view life from a perspective thatthey might not have viewed if they were not exposed (Osborn, 2005).In addition, literature allows students to become more aware of theirown language and the culture of others. This helps to preparestudents for the global community and ensure that they are exposed toother people beliefs, religion, traits, values, attitudes, andcharacteristics (Carber, 2011). An interview with two professionalinternational workers was conducted, to help in further understandingthe trait, values and personality necessary while operating in aninternational setting.
Thisinterview was conducted via Skype. It involved an entrepreneur,Janet, who traveled to Kuwait from the United States to operate afamily business handed over to her by her parents. Janet runs acomputer sales store, which is a branch of their family business inthe United States. As a result of the advancing technology, Janet’sparents expanded the U.S. business to various nations including theMiddle East as made Janet the manager of businesses in that region.Janet states that most of her responsibilities requires travellingconstantly and keeping in touch her employees to ensure that she isup-to-date with any occurrence. This interview analyzes how Janet’straits, personality, and characteristics enable her to interact andoperate in the global community.
Communication and language skills
Althoughcommunication is the key aspect when operating in any business, Janetclaims that is one of the areas where she experiences manydifficulties. As a non-native, she claimed that she does notunderstand most languages spoken in the country apart from English.On the other hand, not many people speak English fluently because itis not the national language. As a result, Janet uses both verbal andnon-verbal communication when communicating with her employees andother locals. In order to overcome this challenge, Janet said thatshe recently joined a linguistic school to study some major languagesduring her part time, to develop her foreign language competencies.
Janetworks with employees of a different race, religion, and beliefs. Forthis reason, she has found out that cultural sensitivity is animportant issue when interacting with people of different culturalbackground. Liamputtong (2010) urges that cultural sensitivity helpsto know the cultural context of the group of people one wants to workwith, as well as, allows one to gain access to individuals in a givenculture and learn about their lifestyle. Janet has difficulties withsome employees who would not report to work on because they claimedit was their Sabbath day. At first, she fired some, but later on shelearnt their cultural and religious values and had to allow heremployees to work at flexible shifts.
Flexibility and tolerance
Asan employer, Janet noticed that flexibility and tolerance are crucialwhile operating with people who uphold their cultural beliefs andvalues. At one point, she would fire employees who failed to reportto work give reason of religious holidays, while others they do notwork on Sabbath day. At first, Janet thought that they were nottaking their jobs seriously, and did not care whether the businessesmade losses. Later, she understood that she was misinterpreting thesituation when she begun to understand their culture and beliefs. Shepoints out the patience, flexibility, tolerance of beliefs, andopenness to new experiences should be among the top characteristicsof international entrepreneurship.
Thesecond interview was also conducted on Skype, and it involved acommunity nurse, Monica, who has been working in Kuwait for threeyears. Monicah claims that when she first came to Kuwait, she wantedto take a flight back to London immediately, and work in her hometown instead. She perceived most of the Kuwait natives as ignorant,proud and misinformed. However, her two years stay has convinced herotherwise, because she got to interact and understand the native’sculture belief and values.
Monicaobserves that cultural beliefs can be a major line of conflictbetween the natives and medical professionals, especially thosecoming from Europe and America. Most of the native believe intraditional and divine healing, which as a nurse I did not believein. Monica remembers a time when she watched a young boy ailing inpain, yet the boy’s parents could not take the boy to the hospitalfor medical attention. Very sick and dying patients in Monica’ssociety are dependent upon medical attention and the care of familyand friend. On the contrary, most religions in Kuwait are dependentupon divine healing and traditional herbs. It took a while for Monicato accept this cultural belief and freely interact with people whopracticed this belief. However, in her social interaction, she hasmanaged to influence some by enlightening them on the need for healthcare and medication.
Patient and humility
Patienceis a trait that Monica had to learn when she began working in theforeign country. As a nurse who enlightens the natives on the needfor medical health, she has to be humble and patience to the opinion,as well as, respect their culture and belief. Monica urges thathealth care providers should know their patients as cultural beings,develop attitudes that engender trust and express trust, as well as,facilitate mutual understanding through humility. Monica admittedlysaid that she has achieved this humility through self evaluation andidentifying and accepting areas of congruence and incongruence.
Communicationis essential in every setting, and mostly the health setting.Patients, doctors and nurses among other health workers have tocommunicate in order to function effectively. Sue and Sue (2012)points out that various cultural setting may dictate what a gesture,word or phrase may mean. As a person who is not conversant with thenative language, Monica uses gestures that are interpreteddifferently by her native patients, and may at times leads tomisunderstanding and conflict. Monica recalls several times when sheshrugs her shoulder, winks and nods as a sign of agreement but isviewed as disrespectful. In order to avoid this, Monica is practicingflexibility by learning gestures that portray respect, by payingattention to non-verbal cues of their culture.
Janetand Monica are professionals working in an international setting, whohave portrayed the need for patience, flexibility and adaptability inaccepting people from diverse culture and their beliefs. Since thetwo professionals have worked in a foreign nation for long, they haveshown that the approach of adaptability and flexibility can help todeal with diverse cultures without maintaining a bias mind.Therefore, the qualities to bear in mind would be openness,flexibility, and the ability to be patient enough to delayassumptions and judgments (Carber, 2011).
Itis evident from the two professionals that integrating thesequalities in any workplace will safeguard the setting in amulticultural environment. From the interview, it is also obviousthat cultural sensitivity is the key to effective communication. Itis true that ignoring the customs and beliefs of other people createsa communication block that can obstruct business operations or createill will against one another.
Today,a massive number of people are involved in international enterpriseand international studies. The guiding principle in their interactionshould be sensitivity to cultural differences. However, some peopleand communities change of attitude towards other cultures tend to besubtle, while others especially in the United States embrace culturaldiversity, since the nation has diverse cultures. An outlookanalyzing people who have been successful especially internationallyallows students and other stanch believers of their traditionsappreciate other customs and cultures. Therefore, culture, ethnicityand race should not affect how we form opinion about, work, meet andsocialize with other, as well as, how people in everyday life reacttowards each other.
Liamputtong,P (2010). Performingqualitative cross-cultural research.New York: Cambridge University Press
Osborn,T. A (2005). Languageand cultural diversity in U.S. schools democratic principles inaction.Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers
Sue,D. W & David, S (2012). Counselingthe culturally diverse: theory and practice.New York: J. Wiley,
Carber,S. E. (2011). Internationalizing Schools. Woodbridge, United Kingdom:John Catt Educational Limited.