Program Belajar

Intercultural Communication – Understanding Each Other Makes Us Closer

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On May 28th, 2022 Act Global conducted a session regarding the topic of intercultural communication. In our mission to foster peace, we believe communication plays a significant part in this matter, and understanding each other is one of the keys to making us closer. So, this is what we want to learn in this discussion space.

We invited Fadil from the organization of Puan Bisa to share her knowledge and her view about this issue. Not that we invited her for no reason, as young people Fadil come with so many bright ideas to encourage her peer to pursue what they want. Fadil is the person behind the organization of Puan Bisa. Puan Bisa is basically a community platform for young women to support other women and empower them in order to improve their career development, self-improvement, and mental health. Other than that, Fadil is also a social media of specialist in dampak sosial Indonesia

That brings us to the point that actually, we shared the same value as Puan Bisa, and from that, we also believe that young people grow best through access to global education, contact with people from different cultures, and being exposed to new positive educational experiences. It’s also our hope that by supporting the development of global citizens, we can foster a more peaceful, sustainable, and prosperous world.

But in line with the topic of our discussion, some people are not ready for a world they have never been to, that is why, intercultural communication can help us understand other cultures, values, norms and etc. Intercultural communication sometimes does not lead us to know what is different, sometime we find our resemblance eventually.

The discussion began by Fadil started her presentation by defining what it is Intercultural communication? Quoting Cohen and Starsota Fadil stated that intercultural communication refers to the communication between people from 2 different cultures. By this definition, we can highlight two points, the first is communication and the second is different cultures. As it stands, if two different culture has a conversation they already started intercultural communication, and as the two people spoke to each other sometimes the conversation comes to the moment where they did not understand each other sometimes which leads to misconception and hurt others feelings. And that is the reason why learning about intercultural communication becomes important as we are part of the larger community.
To make it simple to understand, Fadil has seven points that we have to know to measure our intercultural competence. This seven-item could help us know, what to do or what to say during our intercultural communication:

  1. Flexibility and ability to tolerate a high level of uncertainty.
  2. Open-Mindedness
  3. Sensitivity
  4. Adaptability
  5. Politeness
  6. Avoid stereotypes; and
  7. Reflectiveness and mindfulness

Elaborated more on these seven items, Fadil told us to remember that if we are caught in a situation or in the middle of intercultural communication, it is important to applicate these things. Stay open-minded can help us see another side of someone’s culture or avoiding stereotypes can prevent us from saying something offensive to others.

Fadil also wants us to ask several questions before we judge or say something unpolite.

  1. What behaviors did the other side use that confused me that I did not understand?
  2. How did the other side perceive my behavior?
  3. Have I achieved the outcome I was looking for? What were the reasons for my success or failure?
  4. In what ways do other personal behaviors or beliefs, different from my own.

These questions will help to understand others and what compromises we should do if our values do not meet. And Fadil added some important things to remember every country has a different culture, and understanding the differences between other cultures is one of the keys to lowering the gap.

The session itself lasted for one hour. Around 28 people gathered with us that day to learn about this issue. And Fadil close her session by quoting Elizabeth Bourgeret,

“Communication is the lifeline of any friendship.”


Writen by Harun Arrasyid

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