What is Intercultural Communication?

| - Tim Lake |

In the modern globalised world, Intercultural Communication is very important if we are to live and work together. But what exactly is Intercultural Communication, why is important and why is it something you need to think about?




What Intercultural Communication is.


There are varying definitions of Intercultural Communication, but the words themselves explain the basic meaning well enough.



“Inter~” means between, and put with “culture”, intercultural means, “between cultures”.



To define a culture is hard but it is enough to say that there are significant differences in languages, traditions, religions and how we live between different places in the world. Roughly speaking these differences mark the differences between cultures.



“Communication” is any means of exchanging information between people. We commonly think of speaking or talking in face-to-face situations, but all forms of written communication also count. As do other less obvious forms of communication such as facial expressions, body language, the clothes we wear and more.



Intercultural Communication means communication between people from different cultures.

The important features of intercultural communication for our purposes are that it is a personal exchange or interaction between two or more individuals with different cultural backgrounds. It is often done through a second language for one or both of the parties. And in many cases uses English.



I hope you can begin to see why Intercultural Communication is important.



Why Intercultural Communication Is Important.


These days we are much more globally connected than we ever have been. People from different countries and cultures have always mixed and interacted to varying degrees, particularly in the more populous areas of the world. But now, people from all corners of the world are meeting, connecting and living in the same places in much large numbers than ever before, in-person and online.



We all have individual experiences and our experiences are shaped by the cultures we have grown up in. This includes things like:


+ traditions 伝統
+ religion 宗教
+ festivals 祭り
+ history 歴史
+ manners マナー
+ customs 習慣

It also includes attitudes towards gender, age, class and ethnicity.



There are many customs from my culture that you will not be able to understand and the other way around. This easily leads to misunderstanding, and misunderstanding can lead to various levels of conflict, which reduces our ability to communicate and co-operate.



Studying Intercultural Communication helps us to consider and understand our own cultural background, and then to be more open-minded and open-hearted toward the cultural differences we meet.



The aim of Intercultural Communication is to reduce the chances of misunderstanding and conflict, and instead prompt understanding, respect, and cooperation between people from different parts of the world.



What You Can Learn From Intercultural Communication


There are many benefits to learning Intercultural Communication and not just for people who work in international business. Here are a few benefits:



+ A better understanding of your own culture and identity.
+ Become more open-minded and adaptable.
+ Learn new things.
+ Have a deeper knowledge of the world.
+ More easily make friends with foreigners.
+ Be more comfortable travelling, living or working abroad.
+ Contribute to solving global problems.
+ Be more creative.

+ 自国の文化やアイデンティティをより深く理解する。
+ よりオープンマインドで順応性が高くなる。
+ 新しいことを学ぶことができる
+ 世界についてより深く知ることができる
+ 外国の方ともっと簡単に友達になれる
+ 海外旅行、海外生活、海外勤務がより快適になる
+ グローバルな問題の解決に貢献できる
+ より創造的になる


Of course, the main benefit is learning to speak English so that you can collaborate and communicate with people from all over the world.