why should we learn about other cultures

As far as weБve come as nation, many Americans express fear, hatred, intolerance, or confusion towards other cultures. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, when someone has a fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners, he or she suffers from xenophobia. Sadly, xenophobia can lead to violence and discrimination. America has been a Бmelting potБ since its inception, so for many Americans it may be surprising that such negative feelings towards other cultures can exist. Xenophobia can affect your neighbors, your family members, your friends, trusted officials in your community, and even you. Rather than fueling the harmful negativity, here are some benefits to learning about other cultures:
Reducing Xenophobia When someone suffers from xenophobia, he or she likely feels hatred or fear towards strangers or foreigners because he or she is simply lacking accurate information about another culture. If more people took the chance to learn about different cultures, xenophobia could be less prevalent. For example, your neighbor may fear the Muslim family that just moved into the neighborhood. When you ask her why sheБs so fearful and hateful, all of her feelings stem from what she perceives from the media. If your neighbor took the time to get to know the new family, she would most likely see that she shares some commonalities such as a love for gardening, cats, and reality television. One of the major problems of xenophobia is that many people are too БsetБ in their feelings that they arenБt willing to branch out and learn about other cultures. Enhance Your Lifestyle Think about some of your favorite cuisine.


Without cultural influence, your daily food options would be pretty boring. Love the artistry of sushi or the rich, comforting flavors of Indian food? You can thank other cultures for the variety in your life. Not only can other cultures make for a more colorful dining experience, but is interesting and can broaden your views on everything from food to clothing to religion and politics. Learn How to Interact with Other Cultures Some people, who are xenophobic, base their negative feelings off of how they perceive the actions of strangers. For instance, some Asian cultures do not use direct eye contact and many Americans may view that as a sign of disrespect, where in fact it is a way of showing respect. Cultural differences can cause a lot of misunderstandings and may lead to irrational feelings of hate and fear. You may gain a by simply taking the time to learn about another culture. However, itБs important to remember that you shouldnБt assume that everyone of a certain culture is the same (as Americans are not all the same). See the World Through Another PersonБs Eyes By taking the time to learn about someoneБs cultural background, you may have a better understand of their life. For example, many people assume that refugees and immigrants come to the U. S. for БfreeБ things, but in reality many of them are escaping a war torn country. Learning about another culture can open your mind, your heart, allow you to, and reevaluate your own life and culture. A practical answer would be, because if you are not interested in other cultures, you are losing great opportunities and a lot of fun.


A more profound answer would be, because when you learn about other cultures you also learn about yourself and find rich alternatives to growth as a person or as an organization. It is no secret that the world is interconnected and globalization has deeply changed the way we live. Companies now can get supplies from varied countries, have clients in far away regions and even hire people from very different cultures. But these possibilities are really there only for those who know how to locate and use them. So if you learn about other cultures you can capitalize these opportunities and you can make your business a better business. Learning about other cultures can also be fun. Do you like traveling to distant and different countries? How stressful is it for you? Have you relocated to a different country? How difficult was it? The more you know how to adapt to different cultures, the less stressful and more fun it gets. Learn about yourself and find rich alternatives to growth as a person or organization. PFor some, interaction with people from other cultures might be an enjoyable experience right away. While many others might get surprised, confused and probably frustrated. For most people, it always depends on the culture and the particular situation. Thatds normal. Learning about other cultures might have a different effect on people. But what it is for all of us is a great opportunity to look us at the mirror and understand why we are the way we are; to clarify why we enjoy or we get frustrated when interacting with different people; to identify what can other cultures teach us and what can we teach people from other cultures.


P PThe answers are inside us. There arendt right or wrong answers to these questions. But rich alternatives to growth as a person or organization show up when we face the question and think about it. Learning about other cultures is a great opportunity to revise our values, practices and the way we interpret the world we live in. The experience might trigger deep reflection, and if done well, might show us new options to be a better person or organization: either validating our pros or changing our cons. The good news is that training in Cross-cultural Management and developing Cultural Intelligence can help us to do better when interacting with other cultures. PP Cultural intelligence has four elements: knowledge, motivation, action and strategies. In order to transcend national boarders and form complex cultural understandings, we need to commit to life-long learning and adaptation. Thus, cultural knowledge is needed, but it will not be enough. In addition to knowledge, we need motivation to deal with frustration and to overcome difficult times. We also need motivation to enjoy the journey and keep exploring the world. But, with cultural knowledge and motivation we are not fully prepared yet. We also need to take action, otherwise the effort wondt pay. It means that our behavior (action) needs to be coherent with what we know (cultural knowledge) and with what we want (motivation). Finally, in order to secure the process forever, we need to develop strategies to keepP getting knowledge and motivation and to keep behaving accordingly. Olivia Hernndez Pozas,

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