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How To Overcome Cultural Barriers


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Suppose you have to be in environments where you are different from others and belong to a minority, whether it’s in an institution or neighborhood. 

In that case, it can be a little difficult to connect with the masses. That feeling of alienation can weigh you down and hamper your growth. After all, we are social beings and need a community to function. 

The majority of institutions promote diversity, which is impressive. People come together and learn to work with those who are astonishingly different from them. But it isn’t always that simple; you might face certain prejudices and struggle to feel belonged.

So, here’s my take on overcoming cultural barriers:

#1 Accommodate the differences: our mindsets are heavily influenced by our upbringing and the environment we grow up in. It’s only natural to have unconscious and implicit bias. However, you need to be mindful of that bias and acknowledge it instead of basing your opinions and judgments on it.

The easiest way out of those judgments is by learning and respecting the differences. You won’t agree with others all the time, so learning to agree to disagree is pivotal. 

#2 Take it as an opportunity to learn: sometimes, you might find it challenging to work with people belonging to a specific section or culture because of your experiences or conditioning. Introspect that feeling of discomfort and assess whether it is rational or just something you’ve been fed for years.

Take that exposure to other cultures as a chance to learn something new and explore a world you didn’t know existed. It will likely bring joy to everyone willingly involved in the process.

#3 Communicate empathically and politely: clear and effective communication is the key in most aspects of life. When talking to people from diverse backgrounds, ensure that you use simple language that effectively carries across your point. Additionally, using visual methods of communication wield good results in culturally diverse environments.

It’s a given that you absolutely should not use racial slurs, but sometimes people do that without realizing it. Be mindful of that and apologize if you accidentally hurt someone’s feelings. Furthermore, avoid using regional slang, don’t invalidate others’ experiences, and be sensitive towards them. 

#4 Employ diversity training: diversity training workshops can go a long way to educate people and make them aware of cultural barriers. They encourage teamwork and fair play, thereby giving people a fresh and positive outlook on critical topics.  

Have you had to overcome cultural barriers? What steps helped you in understanding how different cultures communicate?

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I feel like a lot of people struggle with this and either do little to nothing to assimilate or they go out of their way and offend people. I have a friend who's co-worker's family moved to the US from another country. They found other people like them and lives in the same area. They all shopped and lived in the same spot and made no effort to learn English. This greatly hindered their ability to do much of anything in the US. 

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