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Communicating Across Cultures Presentation for the Canadian Association of Law Libraries 2008 Conference Saskatoon, Saskatchewan May 27, 2008 Suying Hugh.

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Presentation on theme: "Communicating Across Cultures Presentation for the Canadian Association of Law Libraries 2008 Conference Saskatoon, Saskatchewan May 27, 2008 Suying Hugh."— Presentation transcript:

1 Communicating Across Cultures Presentation for the Canadian Association of Law Libraries 2008 Conference Saskatoon, Saskatchewan May 27, 2008 Suying Hugh Work and Study Abroad Officer International Student Centre University of Toronto

2 Overview of Presentation What is culture? Models of Culture International Student Centre (ISC) at UofT Challenges to communicating across cultures Resources and tools for effective communication across cultures

3 What is Culture? Culture is: Historical Behavioural Learned Collective Distinctive Definitive Dynamic “ Culture has been succinctly defined as the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes one category of people from another.” -- Lewis, (2003) The Cultural Imperative Global Trends in the 21 st Century,Intercultural Press. “Culture is not a universally accepted notion, and there are a great many different ways to define it. However, all but the most exotic definitions include…the sense that culture pertains to the social world; it determines how groups of people structure their lives.” -- Hofstede et al (2002) Exploring Culture,Intercultural Press.

4 Understanding Culture Models of Culture This is a cross cultural exercise done with students to allow them to see the different layers of culture and how we experience them.

5 Understanding Culture Models of Culture Perception: What do you see?

6 Understanding Culture Models of Culture Suggested interpretations from the image: A woman bribing a man Negotiation A violent discussion A discussion among friends A quarrel A lady giving her address to a man

7 Cultural Models A way of Understanding High Context Cultures Process focused Relationships built over time Group oriented Hierarchy Formality valued Indirect communication style Time polychronic Low Context Cultures Results (task) focused Fast built relationships Individually oriented Equality Informality valued Direct communication style Time monochronic

8 Model of Cultural Variation

9 The International Student Centre What can be illustrated from this experience? understanding target audience adaptation and adjustment issues cultural tendencies and designing programs and projects experiences which can offer transferable situational information

10 Target Audience of ISC International students 7, 537 students from over 100 countries Top 4 countries (undergraduate): China, United States, South Korea and India Top 4 countries (graduate): United States, China, India and Iran Domestic Students Layers and interests Global understanding

11 Cultural Implications and Programs General design and objectives Orientation Programs Work and Study Abroad Interchange/ Intercultural Programs

12 Experiences at ISC What we see and perceive from a situation, grounded in our own values inform how we act and communicate. Anecdotal experience from daily encounters (the never ending question, the non communicator, etc) Culture and adaptation Mentorship Expectations and “reality”

13 Challenges to Communicating Across Cultures Communication is a combination of what is said, the way in which it is said and our body language. Challenges can be categorized as: speaking accent topics of conversation slang/jargon

14 Challenges (cont’d) Formal/informal language Tone Gestures/ Posture Physical space and contact Communication Style Dress and appearance Gender

15 Resources and Tools There is no right or wrong communication style or method Understanding your own perceptions and values will guide you Knowledge and Awareness are key Communicating across cultures is dynamic Learn to take cultural cues

16 Resources and Tools (Cont’d) Hofstede, Gert Jan, Pedersen, Paul B. and Geert Hofstede (2002) Exploring Culture Exercises, Stories and Synthetic Cultures Intercultural Press Lewis, Richard D. (2003) The Cultural Imperative Global Trends in the 21 st Century Intercultural Press Lewis, Richard D. (2006) When Cultures Collide: Leading Across Cultures Nicholas Brealey Publishing Ltd. Peterson, Brooks (2004) Cultural Intelligence A Guide to Working with people from other cultures Nicholas Brealey Publishing Ltd.

17 Thank You. Contact information:


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