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Cross Cultural Awareness Essay

2100 words - 9 pages

Cross Cultural Awareness and Communication
INTRODUCTION Communicating across cultures can be a difficult experience. All successful communication results from one person understanding the meaning and intention of what another person has said. The skills associated with effective and rewarding cross-cultural communication can seem elusive to many people who lack experience of this form of interaction. The information contained in this fact sheet is designed to initiate and/or guide your cross-cultural experiences. The resources and contacts listed are intended as a starting point for further learning. WHO ARE CALD STUDENTS? Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) students are not ...view middle of the document...

There are currently 44 million refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide. Australia is one of only 22 nations accepting resettlement of refugees, with an annual refugee resettlement commitment ~ 13-14,000 each year. From 2004-2010 300 refugees on average are resettled in Tasmania each year. As many entrants are young adults and teenagers looking to make the most of the educational opportunities in Australia this has led to a sizeable UTAS population at approximately 300 students, which has increased sharply from 2004, but has remained fairly stable with a trend of low growth over 2010-11. They have all been refugees for extended periods and have experienced or witnessed extended periods of danger and privation, mostly during protracted civil wars. They have been subjected to forced dislocation, squalor, malnutrition, disease, limited access to clean water and sanitation and a lack of educational opportunities.

WHAT DO CALD STUDENTS NEED? • • • acknowledgement of their experiences; acknowledgement of different learning styles; acknowledgement of their reality e.g. lack of access to computers, language issues etc.; acknowledgement of the value of their experiences to the University community; assistance to achieve their potential including skill development, cultural adjustment, English language proficiency, computer literacy, information literacy etc.; to understand what is expected of them and what they can expect of the University; and, support in facing feelings of isolation and uncertainty and in dealing with racism.

Race – a socially defined population that is derived from distinguishable physical characteristics. Stereotype – the notion that all people from a given group are the same.

Some of the most common cultural differences relate to the use of names – how and why people are named and how they are addressed in certain situations. An example is placing the family name first when addressing someone in many collectivist cultures. Greetings such as handshakes, interaction between men and women, family structures, signs of respect, attitudes to education, and body language, also play central roles in most cultures, and are where most common misunderstandings occur. For example in many African and Asian cultures, avoidance of eye contact can indicate respect rather than discomfort or a lack of interest. In many cultures, it is not usual to ask questions of teachers and service providers. However, when issues are raised, the expectations of both parties will often differ in relation to acceptable outcomes and the level of concern displayed. In fact, many CALD students tend to rely on members of their own community for information about University matters. WHY IS COMMUNICATING ACROSS CULTURES SO DIFFICULT? More than 80% of the world’s people live in societies that are collectivist in nature. Those living in Western societies live in societies that are individualist in nature. This is a...

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