I went to that intercultural communication lecture today “The software of the mind”. Most interesting part for me was that someone actually had to hold that and explain to people that we are all different. But, studying in Sweden and working with other students made me realize many obstacles in understanding others. And as Chrissie said today “…we are all humans and that (communication) is what we do… But is it that easy?”
What she was talking about are general differences in the way we perceive world and people around us. The theories she was referring to are really interesting, even when applied to the field of architecture. Imagine that you are an American architect usually working for L.A. celebrities and you are designing a household for a Japanese. Not gonna work I can tell you right now!
Other thing that she mentioned is cultural pattern of a typical Swedish person. How they value equality (I am still against opening door for myself, thank you very much), have a low context culture which means they will explain things in detail and are task oriented. Also high individuality dimension that makes us foreigners feel lonely sometimes, and a large personal space that follows. There were some points I highly disagree with. Like for instance saying that Swedish people will tell to your face what they mean. From my experience that is not correct. It is rude to openly state something, especially if it’s not a positive remark. More likely they will point it out in a very shy manner, trying not to offend you or they will just ignore it.
What the lecture mainly contributed today, was the hope of one day understanding Sweden and its people if you wish to live and work here. The lecturer gave some tips, very basic ones (direct eye contact when talking, handshakes as a greeting and so on) that will get you started. And it is up to you to really understand and embrace the differences. If nothing, think of it as an adventure – you are about to discover a completely new way of looking at stuff! Just enjoy it… (and this is me saying, not Chrissie)
Till next seminar or so,