So you are living and working in the United States. What cultural assumptions do you have about American people or about your colleagues from other parts of the world? I have spoken with many international professionals who are working in the US and abroad and the most common thing that I hear from people is "well, I don't really notice too many differences. Basically, we are all the same" Really? We all have the same worldview? The same communication style? The same orientation toward time? I strongly disagree! Perhaps this assumption is our first problem. We often don't see that there are differences. If we are really all the same, why do business deals fall apart between North Americans and Latin Americans when the assumptions about time and scheduling differ. Why do Americans interpet "it will be difficult" as "yes we can do that" when it actually means "no, it's not possible" in Japan.
Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States
Intercultural communication (communication between people from different cultures) is now taking place all over the world, especially in large cities like Boston and New York. We are encountering people with different ways of communicating in every area of our lives including our careers and the business world, our social lives and in our academic courses. This is an exciting moment but do you sometimes feel confused or lost in these encounters? For example, did you ever wonder why your colleague said "yes, I will try " when he really meant "no, absolutely not"? Culture is more complex than we realize! To be successful in intercultural communication, we need some knowledge and skills. What do we need to successfully communicate with a friend, colleague or acquaintance from another culture? In this article, I will talk about 6 things you can do to improve your cultural competence and become a better intercultural communicator.
Are you an international professional or student working in the US and preparing for a presentation?
Are you preparing for a business presentation in English? Do you know the correct English words and phrases to use during your presentation? Have you thought about how you might want to alter your presentation style based on what is expected for business presentations in the United States? A lot of our students in New York and Boston are international professionals who need to be able to make a presentation at their workplace in English. This can be an intimidating experience if you are not prepared! Our professional tutors help our students practice for their presentations by introducing new expressions, helping them think about how to structure the presentation and asking them to consider how presenting in United States culture might be different from presenting in their home country. Based on the work that we have done with students, we have created a free guide to help you prepare for your next presentation.
Is interviewing in the United States the same as interviewing in other cultures?
What is communication? How are culture and communication related? In previous articles, we have talked about why you need more than just English skills to be successful in your career and in your life in the United States. Being able to use American English expressions correctly in conversation is important, but what about the other parts of communication such as the ways in which diffferent cultures use silence and levels of directness and indirectness in answering a question? The first step to communicating successfully with people from other cultures is understanding your own communication style. In this post, we will talk about two different ways of communicating that you might encounter in your intercultural workplace.
The best way to learn more about the ways in which culture impacts our lives is to talk to people who have experienced the life challenge of moving to a new country to live, work and/or study. A few weeks ago, I sat down with Rodrigo, a Bolivian law student who moved to Boston about a year ago, to talk about his adjustment to life in the United States. During our conversation about culture, we talked about what was challenging for him about moving to the US, differences in communication styles here and what it's like to be interviewed for graduate school in the US. We would like to hear about your experiences as well. If you would like to share your thoughts about life in the US and US culture and help us with our latest project, please contact us and we will arrange an appointment.
How can we talk about cultural differences without putting people into boxes and stereotyping them? Today, cultural awareness is becoming more and more important in our globalized world. In places like New York and Boston and other major cities around the world, we are starting to realize that if we investigate how cultural differences affect our interactions with other people, we can benefit from the enormous potential for creativity and success that an intercultural workplace or community provides. So we know that cultural differences are important and we also know that stereotypes are dangerous. How do we develop our cultural awareness and avoid relying on stereotypes to deepen our knowledge of other cultures? Keep reading for the answer to this question and more.
What are the 6 stages of culture shock and how do they affect you, as an international professional or student in Boston or in another part of the United States?