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  • Internal Code :
  • Subject Code : KF7032
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  • Subject Name : Intercultural Competence

Introduction

In light of globalization and augmented cultural diversity, the question regarding the cultural identity of people has become salient in today’s world across various societies (Bichler et al., 2020). Cultural identity can be understood as the identity of belonging to a group. It includes the self-conception as well as self-perception of an individual and is related to ethnicity, social class, locality, nationality, religion, or any type of social group that has its own distinct culture (Lin, 2019). Numerous have argued that our modern world is transforming into a global village and cultural factors play an important role as the visible continuous process of globalization. Knowledge of other culture helps in avoiding stereotypes beside negative prejudices (Hassi & Storti, 2012). This document comprehends the culture that is different from ours to understand the rules, decisions made without negative criticism and condemnation of the other human being. Later in this document will be described biographies of two individuals whose cultural background differs considerably. Although they come from different corner of the world, the question is, to what extent they are distinct.

Culture framework: Values, Believes, Attitudes

Culture could be understood as the characteristics as well as knowledge regarding a particular group of individuals, their values, believes, attitudes, language, cuisine, religion, music, social habits, and arts (Bennet, 2015). Culture manifest in the behaviour of the people as it has been acquired at an early age from parents and family even before rational thoughts begin to play a role. Values, beliefs and attitudes are considered as the fundamental components of the culture. An attitude can be understood as the belief of people about something and this influences the thought process of an individual. While values are those stable and long-lasting beliefs that remain persistent in an individual. They become the standards on the basis of which an individual order their lives and make decisions. Culture helps in shaping an individual’s attitudes as it tends to influence the perspective of an individual. In addition to this, it has been seen that the combination of these fundamental components i.e., values, beliefs and attitudes of an individual formulate the moral principles that help in guiding the people in life and influences their behaviour. As human beings, the values, beliefs and attitudes vary from person to person and is highly influenced by their culture. These fundamental components keep on developing throughout the course of an individual’s lives. And, the major factor contributing to this are the family, friends, experiences and the community of an individual (Brom et al. 2020).

My Autobiography

My name is Beata. I was born on September 21, 1985, in Zakopane, Poland. I have 3 siblings. We all live in different places and have been working well. The eldest brother remained in hometown, elder sister lives and works in Rome, Italy. While the youngest brother stays in Jakarta, Indonesia. However, thanks to highly developed technology, we keep in touch and meet together from time to time. What we are today and where we are today is all because of the hard work and support of our parents. My father was a cook by profession and my mother was a waitress. My mother had a chance to immigrate to Italy and work for "satisfying money". So, she used this opportunity and we were recognized as "euro-orphans" and this becomes a natural part of life.

I am Christian and Christmas was the happiest and magical time for our family. When I was eighteen, my father died, which meant being more independent and relying on myself. Going to church every Sunday is an important part of my routine. The more I am aware of myself, the more I realized that religion played a major role in my upbringing, starting with religion as a subject at school and studying the Bible by learning about Christian holidays from six beside morning and evening prayer every day. My hometown is a touristic place located at the Tatra Mountains feet, which are also the border with Slovakia and we used to live in the block of flats, just 2 rooms. Focusing on my education I have completed my graduation at the University: Tourism and recreation at twenty-four years of age. I have worked as a waitress, secretary, receptionist at the hotel. I got married at the age of 28 years and gave birth to my son.

Our emigration to the UK was challenging as I experienced a culture shock and language was the most challenging barrier.

Anaya’s Autobiography

I am Anaya and I was born in December 1982 in Lahore, Pakistan. I have one older sister and one younger brother. Both parents are from Pakistan as well. My father was a businessman and owned a shop of clothes and fabrics while my mother was a housewife. However, my mother used to help my father by sewing clothes for our store. Our religion is Islam and we are Muslim. We strongly follow their culture in which they are expected to pray 5 times a day and "jummah,” has been considered an important day for us. At the age of ten, we emigrated to the United Kingdom where I tried to maintain a balance between two cultures and experienced culture shock. I found language, a barrier that was difficult to overcome for me. In our culture and especially in our hometown people get married at a younger age and one of the influence of my life that has a strong impact on me was when my sister was forced to marry a man who was much older than she and she deny to that for which she used to escape from home but comes back. But, one day she was asked to either marry that old man of her father’s choice to leave forever and my sister left. By the age of ten, I studied in Pakistan only and as we emigrated I continued my studies in the UK. I pursue my education in accounting and at University in London and I get an apprenticeship in one of company. After one year I received the permanent contract. I'm working there till today.

Differences and Similarities

By comparing my autobiography with that of Anaya’s autobiography there were certain similarities as well as differences that were found. The differences that have been found revolves around the difference in culture. One is Christian while the other is Muslim. This makes the difference in values, beliefs, and lifestyle of them. However, even after the differences among them, the problems that have been faced by them when they emigrated to a place that does not originally belong to them were similar. Language has been the common barrier that has been faced along with the change in culture which results in culture shock. The other similarities that were found were the cooperation of their mothers towards their respective husband and family. Following own cultural values truly and respectfully is another similarity among both of the autobiographies. One more similarity that can be found among them is both of us are career-oriented, even after facing language barrier and culture shock, the zeal to continue the studies and making their own path of success can be considered as a similarity between the autobiographies.

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

Hofstede's cultural dimensions are understood as a framework that is used to analyse the cross-cultural communication. It helps in demonstrating the effects of a culture of a society on the values of its citizens, this is analysed by comparing the countries in the Hofstede insights that will result in demonstrating the values for the remarkable six dimensions that are power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty, long term orientation, and indulgence (Yoo, Donthu & Lenatowicz, 2011). Given below are the results of comparison where blue bars depict Pakistan and purple bars are for Poland.

the grap shoes the results of comparison where blue bars depict Pakistan and purple bars are for Poland

Source: Hofstede Insigths, 2020

The results were based on Polish culture and Pakistani culture. Power distance evaluates the equality, with the score of 68 Poland can be considered as a hierarchical society while with a score of 55 Pakistan cannot be preferred for the same. Individualism is the degree of interdependency and as per the scored obtained, Poland can be considered as an individualist society while Pakistan as a collectivistic. As the score for masculinity for Pakistan is an intermediate score so, it can neither be preferred masculinity nor femininity while Poland would be considered as a masculinity society. With 70 scores for uncertainty avoidance has been seen to have a high preference for it and Poland showed a very high preference. In terms of long term orientation, Poland can be considered to be normative when it comes to the thought process of its people while Pakistan would be considered as a very restrained society while Poland scores a bit higher than Pakistan in this and will be considered as one of restraint and will have a tendency to pessimism and cynicism (Hofstede Insigths, 2020).

Conclusion

After working on this document it can be concluded that cultural diversity is there at every place and people from a different culture often encounter various barriers in gelling up with the other community groups because of the cultural difference. The primary barrier found was language as this hinders the communication. However, acknowledging people from other culture and learning a bit about their culture results in harmony. One should appreciate the other culture to educate from early ages to “be sensitive” to others’ cultures. One should develop openness and this will result in discovering the beauty that is hidden in the diversity.

Bibliography

Bennet, T. (2015). Cultural studies and the culture concept. Cultural Studies, 29(4), 546-568, https://doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2014.1000605

Bichler, S., Albert, I., Barros, S. & Murdock, E. (2020). Exploring cultural identity in a multicultural context—The special case of Luxembourg. Hu Arenas, 3, 310–330. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42087-019-00090-w

Brom, P., Anderson, P., Channing, A., & Underhill, L. G. (2020). The role of cultural norms in shaping attitudes towards amphibians in Cape Town, South Africa. PloS one, 15(2), e0219331. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0219331

Hassi, A. & Storti, G. (2012). Globalization and culture: The Three h scenarios, globalization - Approaches to diversity, Hector Cuadra-Montiel, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/45655. Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/books/globalization-approaches-to-diversity/globalization-and-culture-the-three-h-scenarios

Hofstede Insigths. (2020). Country comparison. Retrieved from https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/pakistan,poland/

Lin C. (2019). understanding cultural diversity and diverse identities. In: Leal Filho W., Azul A., Brandli L., Özuyar P., Wall T. (eds) Quality Education. Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69902-8_37-1

Yoo, B., Donthu, N. & Lenatowicz, T. (2011). Measuring Hofstede's Five dimensions of cultural values at the individual level: Development and validation of CVSCALE. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 23(3), 193-210. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08961530.2011.578059?src=recsys&journalCode=wicm20

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