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Intercultural Communication Essay


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Intercultural Communication

International Foundation Programme (Business)

English for Academic Purposes 6.3

Assessment brief

Assessment type: Report

Assessment task:  

Write a report on your personal intercultural experiences at work. Describe situations and interactions that involved yourself and people from other cultures, any communication or relationship problems that may have occurred, and what you learnt from them. On the basis of these experiences, make some recommendations for effective intercultural communication at work.

Word count: 800 words

You should not exceed the word count by more than 10%.

Submission deadline:

Monday, 25 January 2021, 24.00.

Due to our tight marking deadlines, we cannot allow extensions to this deadline. If you submit your report within one week after the deadline, your grade will be reduced by one half-band. If you submit your report more than one week after the deadline, it will receive a zero grade. If you cannot meet the deadline due to adverse personal circumstances, e.g. illness, you can submit an Extenuating Circumstances Claim. This has to be submitted within 48 hours after the deadline. For details, please see the Module Handbook.

Reports must be submitted via the Turnitin link in the ‘Assessment’ block on the Moodle site. Submissions must be in Word format.

Please fill in an assignment cover sheet (available in the ‘Assessment’ block on Moodle), and submit it with your report (your signature can be typed).


Your work must be entirely your own. If we have reasons to conclude your work is plagiarised, i.e. your report or parts of it have been produced by a third party, it will receive a zero grade. Please refer to the section ‘Academic Misconduct’ in the Module Handbook.

Assessment criteria:

Documents detailing the assessment criteria and levels of achievement are available in the ‘Assessment’ block on Moodle. Please refer to the document ‘Level Descriptors Writing’.

The report grade will account for 20% of the overall final grade for your module.

Intercultural Communication essay

Intercultural communication within the workplace is important and must not be undermined because it plays a significant role in an organization’s functioning and impacts its outcome. Nowadays, people have to go and work in different parts of the world because it is part of their duties, and this forces them to adapt to new environments. Nonetheless, adapting is not easy, and colleagues are usually depended on to provide some support, which makes fitting in easier for an immigrant employee. Therefore, it is evident that intercultural communication is important in the workplace.

           Adjusting to a workplace in a foreign land is the same as adapting to a new culture, and it demands learning new norms and rules. When I was working in a foreign land, I was the only one in the workplace who could speak English. It was very lonely and scary for me because I would have to use a foreign language to communicate, and yet I was not quite fluent in it. It felt awkward, and I was confused as to how I would be able to interact effectively with them about work and whether they would like my ideas on how to improve the operations of the company.

           My colleagues had different values and behaviour compared to mine, especially when it came to how they responded to the superiors. This is because their communication pattern varied depending on their concept of informality and formality. For instance, I was used to addressing my boss in the UK by his first name, but in this country, it was considered informal. Each superior was expected to be addressed by the term ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam.’ These were difficult changes to adapt to. I believed it led to ‘culture shock’ because it was not understood why I could not just be open and liberated as I was in my country, especially in the workplace.

           Often as I was working, there were frequent miscommunications with my colleagues due to the cultural barriers. This is because I was still adjusting to the new environment. For instance, when speaking in a foreign language, I would sometimes mix up the words, and this would lead to a different meaning, which would be unintentionally offensive to my colleagues. I had a difficult time learning the language. Even with the struggle I had expressing myself, I believe that my colleagues should have made me feel more welcome instead of distancing themselves from me because I was not one of them.

           Since I noticed that my language was a major barrier to ensuring that I was working and collaborating efficiently with the rest of the team, I was motivated to improve on my language skills in order to try and overcome the language barrier; at the same time, I learned about the significance of non-verbal communication. I applied these skills, and this made it easier for me to communicate with them and work as a team. Even though this was affected by particular stereotypes and prejudices by my colleagues, who believed that my culture lacked respect for authority and was rigid. However, I believe that they should have understood my culture’s nuances.

           I noticed that my colleagues did not appreciate social interactions because I was always joyful in the office, but they would ignore my attempts to initiate small talk. In my culture, I was used to the fact that colleagues would talk about their personal matters frequently, but this was not the case here. I remember that one day I made a comment about the body of one of my colleagues because I thought it was funny, but then I lost the connection with this colleague, and it would always be awkward trying to interact with him.

           Thereafter, some of my colleagues complained to my superiors and told them that I was mean and harsh; when I learned about these comments, I was shocked because, in my country, I was considered to be a diligent and respectful worker. In my culture, the colleagues would have expressed their views about my behaviour, and it would not even get to the management if it was not resolved between us first.

           In order to have effective intercultural communication, it is important to conduct induction programs for the employees so that the process of adapting can be easier for them. Secondly, it is essential to maintain a positive attitude, particularly with employees of an opposite culture, in order to understand their ways of doing things. Thirdly, one should seek a common factor between different cultures so that one can get closer to the foreign culture and act more receptively to the differences. Lastly, it is important to acknowledge the importance of language skills, and in addition, new skills should be acquired through enrolling in essential courses and classes. This will make it easier to relate to the different cultures since one will have knowledge of their preferences. 

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