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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 competence concerns one's knowledge of one's own culture and the culture to which it will relate. Knowing some habits and behaviors helps immensely in interacting with a different culture. For example, in a meeting with Japanese, when handing out your business card, it is important to do so by holding the card in both hands, which for Japanese culture is a sign of esteem and consideration. Handing over the card with just one hand is considered rude and can make a bad impression right in, compromising the future business.

The affective aspect refers to the social competence of the person - then the good interpersonal relationship counts. Here it is critical to be able to respond emotionally in an appropriate manner by controlling any negative reactions. Controlling anxiety, empathy, and avoiding judgment, especially based on stereotypes, complete this aspect of intercultural competence.

In the behavioral aspect, we are interested in the openness and willingness to interact with different cultures: “Am I willing to respect and accept what I don't know and/or don't understand?” is the central question here. Here you need to exercise verbal and nonverbal communication skills to have a better understanding of the context and to be able to adapt your behavior for successful interaction.

Only in this brief definition of intercultural competence, we can see several other concepts linked to culture:

- System of values
- Communication Styles
- Empathy
- Stereotype
- Verbal and nonverbal communication
- Opening to the unknown

We will talk about all these concepts. And you can be sure that when we talk about these, others will appear. Let's explore together the culture and intercultural theme. Stay tuned!

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#interculturalcompetence #culturaldimensions #hofstede #movingabroad #respectthedifference #culturecomprehension #interculturalcompetence #communicationstyle #marinaonair #empathy #culturalopenness 


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