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Studies & Degrees in Cultural Communication

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Cultural, cross-cultural, or intercultural communication are terms used to refer to a field of study, which combines cultural anthropology, sociology and international studies in order to explore the ways of facilitating the understanding and communication between different countries and cultures. It explores how people from various cultures communicate in similar and different ways among themselves and how they attempt to deal with the cultural barriers.

One of the main things the study of cross cultural communication does is to educate people about cross-cultural differences. For example, many Asian cultures prefer to have more space when speaking to others, whereas some westerners, on the other hand, may prefer their conversations to take place in a closer, more intimate manner. Learning about these differences helps people, who deal on an international scope alleviate fear and misunderstanding in-between each other. With this respect, one can conclude that cross-cultural communication tries to teach people about different ways to become active listeners across boundaries. Common tactics include avoiding local expressions or slang, when conversing, and asking relevant questions when listening.

A major reason for which the study of cross-cultural communication is necessary is the absence of a predominating, universal language and culture. Therefore, one of the chief means of gaining a better understanding of other cultures is through the acquisition of knowledge. This may involve learning of languages, gaining knowledge of other cultures’ traditions, and understanding the unique influences that shaped each culture’s citizens.

Personal Qualities

In order to get involved in the study of cultural communication, you need to be an open-minded individual with global views and ideals. Here are some other qualities to consider:

  • Aptitude for learning languages
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Tolerant and tactful nature
  • Willingness to travel and explore other cultures.

Study Options

There are various study options available in the area discussed. Most of them are at the master, graduate, and postgraduate levels and include courses such as Intercultural Communication, Scientific and Cultural Communication, and similar. These programs are usually offered either at specialized intercultural institutes, created specifically for the purpose, or within the Journalism, Languages, or Media and Communications departments at various universities and institutions. Most commonly, such programs aim to help you develop the intercultural competence to reflect on your own culture and its impact on intercultural interactions, whilst also analyzing cultural patterns both domestically and internationally. You would also be prepared to comprehend and develop various strategies for adaptation to cultural differences, to solve complex problems in intercultural settings, and eventually be able to design culturally appropriate interventions for creating individual, organizational, and social change.

Career Options

The career opportunities of the interculturalist are very broad and can be found in many different settings; besides, the number and types of settings are expanding each year. Some people go into academia, while others are in social service agencies; some are working for large corporations, while others are operating their own consulting firms. The titles of the different positions vary greatly, but some examples include organization development administrators and trainers, intercultural/diversity trainers, intercultural facilitators (from the corporate fields); educator in conflict resolution, racism reduction trainer, peace specialist (from the intercultural conflict resolution field); coordinators of global studies, cross-cultural advisors, student development specialists (from the academic field) – and many others.