Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Joys of Cross Cultural Communication

One of the things I really love about traveling is getting to meet people from so many different countries. While I do love meeting locals from the places I am traveling too, I actually am talking about all the other expats and tourists I meet along the way. Traveling for Princeton in Africa opens me up to a whole new set of expats who work in Africa. I love sitting in on a meeting with a group of people from all different places and listening to the accents, watching the different cultural responses and often feeling very comforted by the other American in the room if there is one. It’s another reminder of how diverse the world is and another place where I can find my inner American and feel that deep sense of connection and comfort.

Also, on this trip I have enjoyed discussing the protests in Northern Africa with a variety of people and getting to hear their very different opinions.

The Princeton in Africa Fellow I am visiting told me one of the big surprises of her fellowship so far is the challenges of cross-cultural communication in the workplace. While she expected it with the local Africa staff, she didn’t anticipate getting used to the different styles between her Swiss and British bosses.

I think these cross cultural experiences are addicting. When I get back to New York, I see all the tourists and wish I could find a way to talk to them and hear their thoughts and opinions, but somehow it rarely happens so I will have to keep traveling to get my fix.

PS. While I write this I am evesdropping on a group who are all speaking with the most wonderful mix of English accents. I feel like I am watching an old English movie with a host of royal court characters.

No comments: