From time immemorial, the history of relations between nations, cultures, and peoples has been a complicated and complex one. For example, in some specific circumstances, distant/ neighboring peoples have successfully engaged in symbiotic trade while in other instances, the interactions have been characterized and dotted with conflict emanating from miscommunication. Yet intercultural and international interactions, whether personal or global are gradually becoming crucial for many people daily, making cross-cultural communication and understanding imperative. Individuals traveling internationally often comment on the cultural differences they encounter upon arriving at their destinations, alternately, refreshing, strange, intriguing or annoying.
Additionally, in multinational corporations, people interact with people from different cultures on a daily basis. As such, they have to learn to communicate across cultures. The increase in cross-culture interactions can be attributed to the ease at which people can travel. In the past, different cultures were majorly isolated as a result of a war, beliefs in ethnic purity or geographic reasons. However, immigration and trade have bridged this cross-cultural interaction. Therefore, immigration and trade have basically brought together individuals of different backgrounds and diverse cultures hence making communication/interaction between individuals of different backgrounds/cultures unavoidable. The society or environment in which an individual is brought up in has certain specific traditions, beliefs, norms, values, acceptable behaviors, taboos, dialects, modes of dressing, religious influences, dance, music, and a wide variety of other aspects that when combined form the person’ s culture.
This concept/ behavior is often confused with ethnicity which primarily refers to the person’ s genetic background. Due to these evident cultural differences in beliefs, behavior, attitudes, and thinking, it is often easy and common to succumb to emotional and cognitive reactions which lead to generalizations and stereotyping of other people.
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