Городской вуз международного партнерства / Государственная лицензия АБ 0137478
Международная аккредитация ACBSP (США) / Институциональная и специализированная аккредитация НКАОКО (Казахстан)

Korolyova Svetlana

CROSS-CULTURAL AWARENESS IN THE GLOBAL VILLAGE

Korolyova Svetlana Kazakh–American Free University, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan

Life is communication, exchanging your experience, making the dialogue with people. As we live in a global village, we should be culturally educated and aware about specific peculiarities of different cultures in all the parts of the world. Globalization creates a world in which an increasing number of people are moving between countries for overseas work or studies. Now more than ever, we must learn about our global community by becoming world citizens, by actively bridging cultural differences to create better understanding between people.

CCUSA is a worldwide organization that provides young people with the opportunity to travel, work, and earn money, while making valuable friendships that last a lifetime. A major challenge that the exchange workers and international students face is how to function successfully in a new cultural environment, in a country with different values, sociocultural rules and norms of behavior. One of the main features of successful person nowadays is the ability to find the path when communicating with people.

Being a participant of CCUSA program, I spent more than 2 months in the USA working in the Girls Scout Camp as a counselor. I’ve got a great experience both in personal relations with the representatives of different cultures and in practical skills. Having compared American and Kazakhstani cultures, I can say that they are of different character.

For American mentality such characteristics as individualism, personal space, equality, naturalness, rationalism, orientation to future are usual. They value time, achievements, actions, materialism. Americans consider the ideal person to be an individualistic, self-reliant, independent person.

These characteristics will influence people’s behavior, and perception of outer world. Perception, interpretation, and evaluation of the phenomena of the target culture are based on the personal experience in the native culture. In other words, the native culture is the measurement of norms, values, standards of the foreign culture. Speaking about mentality, we also must mention cultural self-determination, which is person’s realization of his/her place in the variety of cultures and belongingness to the definite group and culture.

It’s very important for teachers to select teaching activities, materials, and techniques, and to ensure that all aspects of intercultural competence are addressed. According to Galskova N.D. the second language personality forms with the help of both the language and global picture of the world. Mike Handford defines the following components in the language personality:

• world outlook component (language is a means of communication)

• cultural component (culture is a means of increasing of student’s interest to the language)

• personal component (inner attitude to the language)

Therefore, a student’s personality is a total of all the components in the real communication. Cross-cultural interrogation takes place when the students have had all the components of foreign communicative competence developed and they are culturally competent.

Sociocultural competence is made by the following attitudes and skills:

- observing, identifying and recognizing;

- comparing and contrasting;

- negotiating meaning;

- dealing with or tolerating ambiguity;

- effectively interpreting messages;

- limiting the possibility of misinterpretation;

- defending one's own point of view while acknowledging the legitimacy of others;

- accepting difference.

Cultural literacy is defined as the common stock of relevant background knowledge of people, places, sayings, events and ideas broadly shared by all the literate members of a speech community. This core information, which is part of the national cultural heritage, manifested in associations or unspoken conventions, ensuring communication beyond narrow social spheres, enabling the juxtaposition of concepts and determining how new knowledge is mapped on to existing knowledge.

Achieving sociocultural competence requires that we lower our defenses, take risks, and practice behaviors that may feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable. It requires a flexible mind, an open heart, and a willingness to accept alternative perspectives. It may mean setting aside some beliefs that are cherished to make room for others whose value is unknown; it may mean changing what we think, what we say, and how we behave. But there are rewards – the reward of assisting families who need someone who can help bridge two disparate cultures, as well as the reward of knowing more about ourselves and becoming more effective interpersonally.

Despite all the differences in cultures I felt comfortable in another country, because I was armed with the necessary knowledge about existing cross-cultural phenomena. I got used to new environment very easily just after the first meeting with native speakers. In spite of the fact that we are people with different values, views on life, way of life, habits and preferences, language, the one thing that unites us is life. Such valuable interpersonal experiences have had a powerful, positive, and lasting effect on our global community.

REFERENCES

1.  Galskova N.D. (2000) Modern Methodics of Teaching a Foreign Language. M.: Arkti-Glossa, 265 p.

2.  Mike Handford. Developing Sociocultural Competence in the ESL Classroom. www.uta.fi/english/teos

2008 year

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