Sunday, 17 July 2011

Intercultural Interactions

The only certainty, when interacting across cultures, is that there will be misunderstandings. Therefore, learning about the host country as much as possible seems crucially important. That however does not seem to be enough for, as Cushner and Brislin (in: Intercultural Interactions: a practical guide, 1996: 21) state, “there seems to be little correlation between the mere accumulation of information and people’s subsequent ability to function effectively in another context”, which is why it is even more important to understand oneself – one’s abilities, limits, weak and strong points; moreover, openness and willingness to learn (that includes the willingness to be changed) are required – for the Socratic-maxim ‘Know Thyself’ seems key to successful intercultural interactions. Yet in order to get to know oneself, one often needs to leave home and embark on foreign shores – that may seem like a circle, but a vicious one it is not: quite the contrary.

Hans Durrer
Ways of Perception. On Visual and Intercultural Communication
White Lotus Press, Bangkok, 2006
ISBN 974-4800-92-5

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