Intercultural Communication and Modern Life

New technology, population changes, the new economic arena, immigration, and other developments in this new age world affect almost every area of modern life. The areas of life that will be addressed in this essay include: education, community, career goals, and career longevity.

Education has always been an arena that reflected the current trends in the common culture of society. As the common culture evolved, what was considered to be topical and import information to learn also evolve. As immigration increases, as stated in the text The Challenges of Intercultural Communication: Interactions in a Diverse World, page 7, “[I}t (the world’s population) is on the move. As many as 100 million people are living outside the country of their birth, and millions more latter-generation immigrants maintain their ethnic identities.” Also because of technological advances like the Internet, contact with cultures around the world is at the touch of a key. National borders don’t matter when researching and interacting on the Internet. To keep up with change in cultural trends due to immigration, new technology, and a change in the economic arena what course of study has changed significantly since the 1980s. Now when students select courses for their college majors, they need to include Middle Eastern studies, Asian culture studies advanced computer operation course, foreign language course, and religion studies so that after graduation, they can perform in the business world successfully. However, with each year the requirements change, new cultures take the spotlight in the international market place and the world’s attention. In order to keep up with the evolution of the global market, people will need to continue their education throughout their life, instead of only relying on four to six years of post secondary education.

As immigration continues and communities of different cultures mix together people will be exposed to new and perhaps even unfamiliar customs, traditions, and languages in their own communities. “[I]mmigration has not only brought us into contact with more and varied cultures, but has increased the number of interactions with people who do not use English as a first language.” (Samovar and Porter, 2001, 14). Even growing up in small communities in Montana, one is likely to encounter a wide variety of cultures, languages, and traditions. For example in Missoula, Montana one can easily expect to hear German, Lai Ossian, Salish, Swedish, Finnish, and English being spoken at the farmers’ market held during the summer.

“Technology has accelerated intercultural contact by spurring development in two areas of human endeavors: transportation systems and communication systems.” (Samovar and Porter, 2001, 6). Take for example the career journalist. They can not only cover a story in Los Angeles in the morning, but they can also fly to France and cover a story in Paris on the same day. By using the Internet or satellite phone, they can also interview a militant in Liberia without leaving the United States. Journalists don’t have to travel to dangerous locations to get hard-edged stories. However, because of the ease at which people can travel and meet with people of other cultures it is imperative for an investigative journalist to have a broad knowledge of cultures, religions, and language in order to have a successful career.

There is no escaping the world’s melting pot. In the years to come, as the population continues to grow and move interactions with other cultures will be inescapable. To make the transition smoother, it is up to each individual to make an effort to understand and be tolerant of the differences, and to rejoice in our similarities.

References

Samovar, Larry A. and Porter, Richard. (2001). Communication Between Cultures, Fourth Edition. New York: Thomas Learning Publications.

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