When a family takes a day trip to Tijuana, it’s easy to feel as though it’s just another visit to Disney’s “It’s a Small World”. With no solid connection, even a cruise to France or a flight to Australia can leave a person feeling that every sight, sound, and the smell was put there just for the day to enhance the feeling, and it will be taken down, cleaned, and stored overnight.
But when you’re an expat and your life is now in a foreign country, everything is different. To fully comprehend, you need to absorb the culture.
Unless you're a hermit, you're surrounded by culture. It's like air. You can't see it, but you know it's there. And just like with air, sometimes we forget that culture exists. We go about our everyday lives without thinking about the millions of different cultures out there. But culture is always there, influencing everything we do. Whether or not we're aware of it, culture is always shaping who we are and how we interact with the world.
Cultural Awareness can be even more important for expats in business.
What does cultural awareness mean in business?
Cultural awareness is being mindful of how one responds to and accommodates the practices and beliefs of people of other cultures. Learn how to be culturally capable in business, particularly in the areas of food and simplicity in the company.
FIVE PRACTICES YOU CAN IMPLEMENT TO INCREASE CULTURAL AWARENESS IN THE WORKPLACE
- Get training for global citizenship
- Bridge the culture gap with excellent communication skills
- Practice good manners
- Celebrate traditional holidays, festivals, and food
- Observe and listen to foreign customers and colleagues
Why is cultural awareness important in business?
Embodying cultural sensitivity and knowledge helps us figure out how cultural differences may affect and effect individuals when forming their unique personalities, perceptions, and their interactions with others. This will help prevent cultural problems in the workplace.
What are the stages of cultural awareness?
• Stage 1. Myopia—Unconsciously Unaware. The first stage, also known as blindness, is where you're unconsciously unaware
• Stage 2. Sensitivity—Consciously Unaware
• Stage 3. Competence—Consciously Aware
• Stage 4. Proficiency—Unconsciously Aware
Important Considerations to Becoming Multi-culturally Aware:
✓ Appreciate your own cultural identity and understand how your cultural identity affects your worldview
✓ Understand the world through multiple perspectives
✓ Enhance your communication and interpersonal skills
✓ Understand and appreciate diverse communities