Intercultural communication is one of the most crucial problems for the great number of linguists, scientists and researchers all over the world for many years. The arguments about its definition still exist. According to Hofstede (41)” intercultural communication occurs any time when two or more people from different countries and different cultures meet and communicate”. By turn, Samovar and Porter reaffirm that “intercultural communication involves interaction between people whose cultural perception and symbol systems are distinct enough to alter the communication event” (15). Interpersonal, as well as intercultural communication, is based on surmounting the misconceptions that can happen as a result of different cultures that interact as well as analyze situations that occur between groups and individuals.
One of my e-mail friends, girl from Ukraine, once told me the striking example of the intercultural communication. When she came to the USA for the first time, participating in an Exchange Student Program she lived in the house of one American family. At first, it was rather difficult to live with them, not only the language barriers were an obstacle, but the cultural barriers played the most important role in their interaction. The location of two countries which is separated by the Atlantic Ocean made the cultures so distinctive. However, that was a great possibility for learning a lot of interesting information about American culture and society its behavior and emotions. The fact that most Americans show their positive attitude towards foreigners deserves a respect. People smile to you almost all the times they are nice, polite and kind these things had a great impact on my friend. It was impossible for her to imagine the same attitude in her country. On the other hand, she shared with the family many interesting facts about Ukrainian culture and traditions. For example, the most impressive for the Americans was the way Ukrainian families celebrate Christmas Eve. They sit down around the table having twelve different cooked dishes among them there is a traditional Kutya (wheat porridge with honey and nuts), and put garlic on four edges of the table, under the tablecloth. After dinner, the single girl of this family ties all the spoons from the table with a string, leave the house and makes a loud noise with them. From the side where the first dog will bark, her future husband will come to her. Experiencing Intercultural communication both participants of the interaction learn a new, interesting and useful information about culture and traditions of each other.
To draw the conclusion, one can say that in order to communicate competently across cultures, individuals should be aware of the fact that cultures are very different. There are many barriers in the cultural interactions even small misunderstanding can lead to the serious offence or even more disastrous consequences.
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