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What do all cultures have in common?

Each time we talk about culture here, it is necessary to remember what concept of culture we are talking about, which is culture as the identifying factor of a social group.
According to the American anthropologist Kluckhohn, culture is a pattern of behavior (thinking, feeling and reacting of a human group) that is acquired and transmitted mainly by symbols within that group and represents its specific identity. It includes the concrete objects produced by the group and its heart is in traditional ideas and values.
Based on this concept of culture, the Dutch culture researcher and psychologist Geert Hofstede* conducted a study there in the 1960-70s among IBM employees in 50 countries, in which he realized that all cultures have common traits, that he called “cultural dimensions”, and what determines the difference between cultures is the degree of importance that each cultural dimension has within them.
The five cultural dimensions initially defined by Hofstede are:
- Power distance - Unce…
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Intercultural competence

Intercultural Competence

Nowadays it is very common to see in job descriptions "intercultural competence" as a requirement in the soft skills list, but the definition of intercultural competence is rarely clear to anyone applying for a job - perhaps even to those who put it in the requirements.

Intercultural competence is defined as “the ability to deal with different cultures and the people who belong to them, their system of values and communication styles respectfully and appropriately so that they can communicate with and understand them. them ”.

Each culture has a system of values and a unique style of communication. Therefore, being interculturally competent goes far beyond having good interpersonal relationships. Intercultural competence encompasses two other important concepts, such as system of values and communication styles, and is divided into three types: cognitive, behavioral and affective intercultural competence.




The cognitive aspect of intercultural compete…

Move and culture

It is common for many people to move from one house to another. We move from our house, neighborhood, city, state and even country. And every move brings with it a certain fear of the unknown.
“Will the neighbors be nice like the ones I had? Do you have little children? What do they like? What do they do? ”These are questions that occur in times of change, because “culture is the way you do things around here” and you, who just arrived in the area, still don't know what it is like. If people in this new place speak the same language as you, adaptation tends to be less difficult. But when we move farther, where another language is spoken, cultural differences are more visible, and adaptation is a much bigger challenge.
Think about this scenario: you move to another country for whatever reasons (work, love, etc.). Getting there, you feel everything is weird: the way people talk, eat, walk, act... it's all very weird and you tend to think that local people are somehow wrong, becau…

Marina On Air goes intercultural

I started writing here about my life as a single mother and some difficulties that I faced throughout my life because of that. This subject will keep existing here, it is a very strong part of my life. 
But my life was also strongly influenced by contact with other cultures and that since my early teenage years. This awakened me along the time to the interculturality/cultural diversity that each one brings in, conscious or not. But how to understand what is intercultural without understanding exactly what culture is? In today's globalized and highly connected world, it is common to find people from different countries living and/or working in the same environment, and understanding cultural differences is fundamental for harmonious living. But a different culture is not just that of another country: your neighbor from has different habits and customs from yours, even being the same nationality as you.
There are several academic definitions of culture. Some are simpler, others indica…

100% priority

In the text about if it is possible to be a perfect mother and at the same time an outstanding professional, I said I would be back to the topic. Not only because this was a very hard thing for me, leaving me guilty for not being “a good mama” for my daughter, but also because I see it is a topic that still concerns mothers all around the globe.
Recently I was sitting at a table surrounded by wonderful engaged women and suddenly I heard some of them talking about single motherhood. And how hard and tough are the demands of society on single mothers. Even worse when single working mothers.
Then I mentioned what I wrote here in my blog, which was a big dilemma for a long time in my life. I told these enlightened women that I no longer felt guilty because now I knew I did the best that I could at every moment of my life. I knew I might have failed in some moments as a mother, in other as a professional, but I was aware, I had done all I could.
One of the women, also a single mother, said sh…

100% Mama & 100% Outstanding professional: does that exist?

Women play several roles in life: mother, housewife, professional, partner, wife – just to mention some. And society demands that we, women, be 100% good in everything we do. I say it is not possible to be 100% good in every role we have in life. And I say that based on my own experience as a single mother with a professional life. 
When you are the only bread winner, your mind is focused on getting the money to pay the bills and provide the basics to your child. You must do your job very well, because you can not run the risk to lose it. You ought to do it outstanding, because you may be seen and even get acknowledged to a better position – which may mean more money and a less tight budget in the end of the month. It may seem weird, but spend most of your time apart from your child because you are thinking of your child. And where is your child when you are working?
In the parallel world, your child is being cared either by a day school, of by your mother, or a neighbor takes them aft…

When work frightens a child

She was just two and a half years old when I had to make the first hard choice of our lives: left her behind, under the care of my mother, in order to go for a job with good perspectives, which was 3.500km away from my home town. And so I did.
Every day I used to call home and talk to my little daughter, asked how she was doing at the kindergarten, and every day I said: "mom is working, and I will soon come to pick you up to live here with me". But this "soon" was not exactly a true statement, it could take around one year until I got a house from the company and could bring her to live with me.
Ten months later I received the house, but I could only fly home on my vacations, so I still had to wait two months to pick her up to me. This one year apart was way too hard, and I counted anxiously the days and hours to bring her to our new home.
In order to make an easier transition, I brought my mother to stay with us for some time and help her to adapt to her new life. W…