Culture is defined as the ideas, customs and social behaviour of a certain society or group of people. Intercultural communication is the study of different cultures communicating and interacting with each other, or how this communication affects culture. It also describes the problems that may be faced by interacting with different cultures. Intercultural communication at times is also related to cross-cultural communication.
CITATION Dan16 l 2057 (Chi, 2016) stated that intercultural communication study is the study and understanding of how people from other cultures relate. In an institution such as Limkokwing University of creative technology Botswana, it is bound to have a strong basis of intercultural communication hence the fact it’s open to international students and is recognised globally. It then becomes essential to practice it for better relations and understanding between people or cultures, since cultures have different beliefs, languages and practices. Aside from that, intercultural communication also looks at behaviour and social attributes, thought patterns and how they perceive the world.
Intercultural communication has certain components that help build its meaning. These include language, value, beliefs, customs, symbols, behaviour used and shared by the people of the various different cultures in their daily life. Symbols is anything that is recognised and has meaning by a culture. An example can be the Zimbabwean bird on the flag and on the countries old currency which they recognise as their national symbol/emblem.
Language is a system that is used to help one communicate with others. Some languages sound similar to one another, normally in this occasion the countries which use similar sounding languages are either close to each other, were once one, or have had a long term expose to one another. Since there are so many languages in the world, there is a set standard for the most commonly used languages such as English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Even though these languages are not used in every country, it is assured most countries use these languages. People are encouraged to learn the basics of these languages to secure a communication medium.
Values are standards that people use in social interpretation set by the culture itself. Standards relating to what is right, what is wrong or what they believe is right to do in their daily practice. Norms are the rules and expectation, anything that the group of people usually do to maintain their behaviour. This results in standards such as certain type of laws in a particular country or area. For example, in Saudi Arabia it’s a law that women are not allowed to drive and it does not come as a right for women to drive on the roads no matter what the circumstance.
Beliefs are a special type of thought or idea that people have trust in and are assured it would never go wrong. This builds stereotypes, these beliefs are what separates religion and make cultures different from one another. Culture can be brought up from the past and to the future, meaning that culture can be passed down generations. Culture is not static but is rather dynamic and is always changing and evolving the more it is passed on to the next generation, it is also influenced by how the world changes with each passing decade.
Not only does culture involve understanding the different cultures, customs, symbols and their beliefs but it is also part of the social sciences like cultural studies, communication studies, religious studies and linguistics. This may also lead to sociology, culture can then be shared through sociology anthropology. For example sharing rumours, myths, fables, sagas, fairy tales and legends. Stories like these have been told previously normally from an elder to the younger, newer generation.
Myths are traditional stories that are relating to early history. Typically explained and relates to a social phenomenon involving supernatural like beings, gods or demigods. A legend is a historical/traditional story that is normally popular but not hundred percent authenticated or verified of its information. An example of a legend is one that took place in China in the city of Hangzhou. There lived a white snake in a lake that was said to have magical powers and could morph itself into a human and eventually falls in love with a scholar and talk to the gods to bless their union.
Linguistics are the studies of human language and ancient language. This sets itself on a diverse plane field and branches out to courses that ultimately play a very important role in intercultural communication.
There are problems or boundaries that could be faced in intercultural communication between peers in an academic environment. Stereotyping is one of the barriers this is normally towards beliefs that groups or individuals find truth in or believe in. An example of a stereotypical opinion is that Asians know Kung Fu or any form of martial arts, or how Americans eat fast food material resulting to them being chubby. Opinions like these that are based on very little to no knowledge about the culture may result in tension or negative energy with that specific cultural group.
Another barrier is whereby the people of a certain culture believe that their culture I superior amongst the other cultures. This is known as Ethnocentrism.