cross-cultural communication

Watch the TED-talk

What do you think of the talk? Any similar experiences? Does being curious help you?


Kommentar schreiben

Kommentare: 11
  • #1

    Anna (Montag, 06 März 2017 22:10)

    Watching this video made me laugh out because the speaker refers to some situations that I have already gone through. It reminded me of driving through a lonely forest with our former Indian roommate a few weeks ago. Suddenly he wanted us to take a video of the landscape while driving. He admired the beautiful forest and planned to send the one minute lasting video (only with trees on it) to his friends in India. From my point of view, that video is really boring but in the eyes of the Indish guy it is very special. This clearly shows that our own culture has an enormous effect on how we see and rate certain things. I agree that asking questions is one way to understand the reason for a specific behaviour in a foreign culture. However, I’d like to add that you might get information through observing or listening as well.
    Here in Sweden I realised that lots of people approach foreigners with real curiosity. While talking in German at a bus stop, a Swedish woman was interested in our home country and the reason for our stay abroad. The same occurs in shops when we want to pay and it is necessary to show our missing speaking proficiency in Swedish. I have even been asked about my background by a child. This underlines Riccardi’s statement that “kids are the most curious creatures on the planet”.

  • #2

    Laura (Montag, 13 März 2017 14:20)

    He is so true with saying being curious helps you in a foreign country. But its not only helpful in a foreign country, in my opinion also in every new situation. I think being curious can help a lot. It’s also easier to start for example a conversation or to learn about a person.
    In short, I have made lots of similar experiences during staying abroad so far. The man in the video talked about a person who wanted to take photos from the beautiful landscape whereas the other person just didn’t found it as interesting. Exactly the same happened to us. Mostly when we do some trips with our Indian friend (he lived with us together in Gustafs) he wants me to drive. I am really lucky about this, because I love driving a car. The reason behind it is, that he just wants to enjoy the landscape and by chance, take some nice photos or videos.
    When we were driving downhill towards a city he suddenly wanted me to stop the car at the next parking place because he needed to get outside the car to take photos from the city and the lake.

    Finally, I have made lots more of similar experiences and there is so much truthiness behind everything was said in the TED-talk. And there are so many people living on this world having different needs of live as well as a completely different point of view depending on the approach to live. Meeting people like this makes you realising how big the world really is. But I think that’s quiet cool and I enjoy talking to these peoples because I think this is also a good opportunity to expanding my horizon.

  • #3

    Christina (Montag, 13 März 2017 19:16)

    I really like this TED-talk because it is refreshing and makes you think about yourself. You compare yourself with everything he says. He once said that everywhere there are stereotypes and we believe what people tell us. Before I came to Finland I heard and read a lot of things about the Fins and their character, for example that they are very shy and introverted. This may be true of many Finnish people but in my own personal experience in the first few weeks I was here I met a lot Finns who were the opposite of introverted.
    The definition which he mentioned made me start thinking: “Culture is a system of behaviour that helps us act in an accepted or familiar way.” (Pellegrino Riccardi) I have to say that everyone wants to be part of something; either it is a group of friends, our family or the community. For that we need culture because otherwise we will not fit together.
    The first month I was here, and even now sometimes, I often questioned my behaviour. I asked myself if this or that action was something polite or impolite in their culture. However, I think that we should act in a way that we are comfortable with but at the same time respecting the Finnish Culture. We do not need to change the way we are because it can be seen or heard that we are guests in this country. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know and compare the different cultures and learn more about the people of Finland. Like he said: “Crossing borders isn’t about crossing borders in mind, it’s about your borders and creating new aspects of the different countries around us. “(Pellegrino Riccardi) Take the best out of every culture and create your own one.
    When it comes to being curious I believe that it is very important to allow other cultures to have a positive impact on you. It helped me in that I was very curious about how I would be able to cope doing a semester abroad. And it was a very good curiosity.

  • #4

    Stefanie (Samstag, 18 März 2017 17:32)

    First of all I am really impressed about his speech and enjoyed watching this video a lot. And yes I experienced many similiar situations! He is totally true with queueing up at the cassier. I made this experience several times in the swedish shops and it made a little bit angry to be honest because in Austria we wouldn't behave like this either. Anyway i am attending a swedish culture and society course and yes - equality is also soo important for swedes! And also the fact about having little text and a short message in Norway suits to the reality in Sweden. For example our swedish teacher just told us to say "ursäkta" (excuse) instead of "sorry I didn't quite catch what you just said..".
    By the way one of the most important facts why i love working with kids is actually the curiosity and their impariality they have.
    Personally i think being curious would help everybody in most situations in life. You could get much more out of life and develop a global mindset better if you are curious. When it comes to culture and international communication I would say being curious is a must and everyone who is traveling abroad brings it with - some people more, some people less though.

  • #5

    Marina (Montag, 27 März 2017 17:53)

    I really like the lifestyle of Pellegrino. Because he shows the people how complicated it is to speak with people from other nationalities. I think it is very hard to don’t have prejudice on other nationalities or other cultures. For example the thing that Spanish people are always late, in my international class they are always late.

    I think a good comparison is the biking in the Netherlands. I am still not sure if there are any rules, some are biking next to each other, some are biking with two people on the bike and most of them just drive how the want to. In the first month I was always biking very careful and tried to look everywhere, but now I just bike how I want to, so I already feel a little bit dutch :D

    The Communication in my international class is still a little bit tricky, because we are a lot of different people and different cultures, but I am sure we will manage the cooperation.

  • #6

    Natalie (Montag, 27 März 2017 18:46)

    I like the talk. It’s quite funny and I like the fact that Pellegrino Riccardi includes many examples of Norway and Norwegian people. I think he describes the Norwegians and their behaviour and peculiarities pretty good.
    Communication between different nationalities and cultures is not always easy because it’s all about perception and how we see different things. We all have preconceptions in our minds when we think about other cultures – about how they behave, how they are, what they like etc.
    When I arrived in Norway I had many of them, not only about Norwegians but also about other countries. Now I’m in a course with people from Spain, Mexico, Serbia, Taiwan, Denmark and so on and within these two months here in Norway I have lost some of the stereotypes about these cultures. Others have been proved. For example, that the Spanish are always late, Danish people like to complain about everything and Germans like drinking beer. These things I have found out because I observed a lot. I tried to come in contact with other people, asked them questions and I always tried to be curious. And it worked. If you are interested in other cultures and want to know more about other opinions and ways of living without being judging, then you can really experience the huge variety of cultures in the world. Then it's easier to cross the borders!

  • #7

    Maria (Freitag, 31 März 2017 21:56)

    I really enjoyed watching this TED-talk from Pellegrino Riccardi. That definition of a typical Norwegian aka Shrek made me laugh out loud. I guess I would have chosen a similar description because I “learned” that these chunks are accepted and familiar. He also mentioned that everyone is equal in Norway. Back in Austria we didn’t know that so we wrote the salutation in e-mails quite formal like “Dear Mr. …” but living here taught us to treat everyone equal. That means that we also address our teachers by their first names.
    When he talked about his father taking a photo of a “special” landscape I remembered one of the first lessons we had. We went outside and walked through a forest near the University. A lot of the other students took photos of the landscape which I didn’t find special at all. In contrast, I would also take photos of unfamiliar landscapes like beaches or deserts.
    The Erasmus Programme is a great opportunity to get to know people from many different countries. Being curious and talking to people helps to understand what is accepted and familiar in their countries. He said that children are the most curious creatures in the world. I think that also elderly people are pretty curious because only pensioners tried to talk to us when they heard that we were talking German.

  • #8

    Fabienne (Dienstag, 04 April 2017 13:33)

    I think it’s important that you are curious in new situations and also when you are abroad. To be curious can help you to find new friends, to start a conversation or to find out some interesting things. A lot of Spanish people are curious, they asked us in the bus, at the supermarket, in the taxi or even in the university: from where we are, what we study, why we came to Huelva, …
    When different cultures meet, it can be complicating, because every culture is different. Before I came to Spain, I also had some prejudices about the Spanish people. For instance that the Spanish people are always late and that they are really relaxed and that they don’t take things that serious. A lot of Spanish people behave like this, but I think that these people have a stress free and uncomplicated life. I am sure that we can learn some things or behaviors from every culture. I think that it is possible to mix up with other cultures and that people will find a compromise to work together in a friendly way.

  • #9

    Marina (Montag, 06 November 2017 09:28)

    He points out that every culture is different and has different opinions. Of course in Finland a lot of habits are different than in Austria, like the thing with the smalltalk. Finns really don't like it, but when you start conversations, they get deeper and transport more information. I think that often it's not about to judge whether one habit is better than the other, it's more about making experiences and find what's most suitable for me. I think being curious definitely helps us to get used to new situations and in particular to understand reactions of people in certain situations. For example, I'm used to greet people on the street or while I'm on a walk in the forrest, but nobody does that in Finland, most of them don't even look at you. At first it seemed to me as quite unfriendly, but now I accept it and see it as that my privacy is respected.

  • #10

    Stefanie (Mittwoch, 29 November 2017 10:01)

    Riccardi Pellegrino puts it totally well: step out of the box called the "accepted and familiar" and extend your own cultural borders and develop a global mindset, because this is what makes the world go round... If we manage to step away from negative conclusions as soon as we are feeling uncomfortable or irritated in different cultural surroundings we will truly be able to open up to positive experiences.

    In my opinion curiosity is the first and most important thing for successful cross-cultural communication, as emphasized by Pellegrino in his video. However, if you can manage to add some politeness and respect while removing judgment and superior behaviour the outcome is even more profound. Another important thing is of course to step away from misperception and the approach to find out what underlying values are.

    Here in Sri Lanka I was asked quite a lot to dig under the surface. Family values are up above all individual needs and personal fulfilment has to step back. On one hand you will find a very polite and humble culture, on the other hand people literally use their elbows a lot, especially when travelling, because there are just so many people on the road. It is impossibly to get by otherwise. This also applies to queuing and the space between individuals in rooms, at bus-stops or in trains - there is none. "Sorry" is not appropriate when you bump into someone. You just keep going. "Bless you" does not exist. Traffic rules are recommendations - you may follow them or not. Everything seems to be more easygoing, whereas rules for appropriate attire are strict: no knees, no shoulders, bathing in full clothing (T-shirt and Jeans)... This shows respect to the body and soul of every person. On the other hand "selfi-taking" is appropriate in any situation with random people: "Selfie, Miss?" I was asked every day in school and on the road. Hiking means walking for about 10 minutes on a paved way to a small peak that could also be reached by car - everything else is considered as high-performance-sport which is not desirable in the free time. Understandable, when it is still normal to work physically hard at home in the garden, the village, the community, the temple... Bus driving is accompanied with ear damaging loud music because it makes people dance on the bus. A school trip for example is planned in consideration of the driving hours because that is where the party happens: 6,5 hours one way driving for a 45 minute hike seems perfect, even if European ears and legs may not really be made for it.
    In the end all this made me realize once more that awareness enables real communication and leads to a cultural exchange with great different people - in my case the ones in Sri Lanka.

  • #11

    Ingfrid (Dienstag, 23 Oktober 2018 14:00)

    It’s a good talk and he has some good examples of how different cultures have a different expectation of what’s normal. I think it’s very important to remember that normal is relative. What’s normal for me is not necessarily what’s normal for you.

    So yes, I think it’s very important to be curious to help understand other cultures. When you find out what’s normal for them, then you will get a better understanding and it’s easier to show respect. And it's a good way of learning and reflect over your own culture.