From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa Hacket

From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa Hacket

From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa Hacket

f5421766-3e3e-474f-be63-54f0fd59ce54-169x300 From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa HacketThis week, we have a Konversation with Teresa Hacket from Frankfurt, Germany. Having traveled all over the world and worked and lived in many countries, Teresa is an expert on cultural competency. One of her passions is teaching others about cultural competency, which she does on Konversai. In particular, Teresa is very knowledgable about Chinese and Japanese cultures. A sneak preview of what Teresa offers on Konversai can be found in the Konversation below. If you’d like to learn more about cultural competency and why it is so important, keep reading.

Konversai: What is cultural competency?

Teresa: Cultural competency is knowledge about values, common standards, and contextually involved cultural dimensions that influence our approaches to handling challenging situations and finding suitable, satisfying solutions for individuals.

Konversai: Why is cultural competency important?

Teresa: Cultural awareness is an inevitable topic for all members of society if they want to feel comfortable intercultural wise, interacting with one another.

Blog98_Cutlural-Competency_Jammu-300x200 From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa HacketKonversai: How are cultural standards defined? 

Teresa: Standards in a certain culture are attitudes, ways of thinking, and behaviors that are perceived as absolutely typical, normal, and binding for members in this certain culture. That’s why certain rules, rituals, symbols, and values are very familiar for one culture and might evoke strange and unusual feelings for members of another culture and even influence their behaviors and judgements.

Konversai: What is the best way for people to build their cultural competency about different cultures? 

Teresa: Cultural dimensions have to be analyzed in order to find out how attitudes towards power, time, communication, indulgence, restraint, uncertainty avoidance, gender roles, roles of human beings in individual or collective societies do differ from my culture.

Blog98_CulturalCompetency_Kyoto-300x200 From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa HacketKonversai: How can you sensitize yourself for cultural competency?

Teresa: You can try all of the following:

  • Experience strangeness as enrichment.
  • Build up relationships, especially in unusual situations.
  • Have the will to keep on learning.
  • Learn to deal with diversity.
  • Consider your own values and actions.
  • Be patient and listen carefully.
  • Relativize your prejudices and stereotypes.

Blog98_CulturalCompetency_Austria-300x200 From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa HacketKonversai: How did you become so passionate about cultural competency?

Teresa: Being born and raised myself in an English and Austrian social environment, traveling around the world for more than one generation, getting to know people from different cultures in diverse contexts, I experienced how difficult it can be to interpret cultural mind maps correctly. Furthermore, I am very interested in finding out the hidden meanings of facial expressions, gestures, and words. That leads me to tailor my wording in order to create memorable and polite moments authentically around the globe.

Blog98_CulturalCompetency_RedLantern-300x200 From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa HacketKonversai: You have spent a lot of time in ChinaWhat do you need to know interacting with people from China? 

Teresa: You want to keep the following in mind:

  • Respect hierarchy and status on making decisions.
  • Respect older people.
  • Criticize and praise only in private.
  • Everything is taken personally.
  • Communicate indirectly to avoid negative confrontations.
  • Chinese people smile in any situation while hiding their true emotions. Do not show negative emotions.
  • Chinese people modestly play down compliments.
  • Loyalty within social groups is based on the ideal of a collective society. Respect these group norms.

Blog98_CulturalCompetency_Japan-300x169 From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa HacketKonversai: What role does Confucian philosophy have in the Asian world?

Teresa: The Chinese, Koreans and Japanese live in a Confucius-dominated culture. The basic philosophical laws of Kung Fu Tse (551-479 BC) are based on a leader and his guided ones harmoniously living together. The following cultural customs are based on Confucian philosophy:

  • Hierarchy is indispensable for stability in families and countries.
  • Preserve dignity, customs, and decency.
  • Respect other people’s feelings.
  • In a shame culture like China, you would feel sorry for being ruthless.
  • There is no need to rebel. Act in harmony with nature and the way the world works.

Blog98_CulturalCompetency_Tokyo-Restaurant-200x300 From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa HacketKonversai: What must you know if you are taking a business trip to Japan?

Teresa: Patience, self-control, and smiling are key in Japan! Keep the following guidelines in mind:

Appearance

  • Dress to impress!
  • Women’s dress should be conservative.
  • Little emphasis should be placed on accessories.
  • Women should only wear low-heeled shoes to avoid towering over men.

Communication

  • If you are greeted with a bow, return with a bow as low as the one you received. How low you bow determines the status of the relationship between you and the other individual.
  • The business card should be given after the bow.
  • In introductions, use the person’s last name plus the word “san,” which means Mr. or Ms.
  • Understand that the Japanese prefer not to use the word “no.” If you ask a question, they may simply respond with a yes but clearly mean no. This may be critical in negotiation processes.

Blog98_CulturalCompetency_JapanFoodMarket-300x212 From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa HacketEtiquette

  • In Japan, business cards are called “meishi.” The Japanese give and receive meishi with both hands. The card must contain your name and title along with the company name. Examine the card carefully as a show of respect.
  • Gift giving is very important. The gift itself is of little importance, but the ceremony surrounding it is very important. Always wrap gifts. The selection of the wrapping paper is critical. Do not give anything wrapped in white as it symbolizes death. It is advisable to let the store or hotel in Japan wrap the gift to ensure that it is appropriate. Do not give gifts in odd numbers or the number four, as odd numbers are bad luck and four sounds like the word for death in Japanese.

Blog98_CulturalCompetency_JapaneseFood-300x200 From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa HacketAt the table

  • “A happy guest pleases the host’s heart” is a saying that reflects the core of the Japanese service culture.
  • The most important guest sits on the honored seat, or “kamiza,” which is located farthest from the entrance.
  • The formal way of sitting for both genders is kneeling, or “seiza.”
  • Key phrases to learn are “itadakimasu” at the beginning of dinner and “gochisou-samadeshita” at the end. It will show the host that you have enjoyed the meal.
  • Do not pour soy sauce on your rice. Rice should remain white.
  • Sticking your chopsticks straight up in your rice bowl is rude, since this resembles the sticks used in religious ceremonies.
  • Hold your chopsticks towards the end, and not in the middle or the front third.
  • When you are not using your chopsticks and when you are finished eating, lay them down in front of you with the tip to left.
  • Do not pass food with your chopsticks directly to somebody else’s chopsticks.
  • Do not point with your chopsticks to something or somebody.
  • Do not move your chopsticks around in the air too much or play with them.
  • It is considered good manners to empty your dish to the last grain of rice.
  • Do not start drinking until everybody at the table is served and the glasses are raised for a drinking salute, which usually is “kampai.”
  • After finishing eating, try to place all dishes in the same way as they were at the start of the meal. This includes replacing the lid of dishes which came with a lid and replacing your chopsticks on the chopstick holder.

Blog98_CulturalComptency_DancingGirls-300x204 From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa HacketKonversai: What advice do you have for someone who is traveling to a new country for the first time?

During socialization processes, cultures have developed their specific standards, which influence attitudes, behavior, and thinking. That is why it is advisable to familiarize yourself with these cultural standards before you plan to travel. For instance, India, Italy, Spain, China, and Japan are well known for their hospitality. Showing respect to elderly people is a necessary standard in Japan, China, and India. The worth of harmony is a top topic in Japan, China, and Korea, which you will experience in many situations. People in Japan, China, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia show a modest attitude.

Another interesting issue is a culture’s attitude towards time. If you travel to a country whose population is “linear-active,” which means things are done one after the other, being on time is very important. On the contrary, people from so-called “multi-active” regions like Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Sudan, Senegal, and Nigeria do not take punctuality so seriously.

Another advice is to consider how your own culture is perceived in the country to which you plan to travel.

Further on familiarize yourself with perspectives of religion, politeness, dress codes, tips, and food and beverage of the country to which you are planning to travel.

Screen-Shot-2019-07-31-at-6.26.59-PM-206x300 From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa HacketKonversai is a great platform for helping to build cultural competence. Your one-stop shop for any and all personal human knowledge, Konversai is a global platform bringing together users from all over the world who are excited to share their knowledge, skills, and experiences on any topic of interest through one-on-one live video conversations. With Konversai, geography, time, and money are no longer barriers to learning anything you’ve ever wanted. Whatever nuggets of wisdom you have on a subject, no matter how commonplace or obscure, narrow or extensive, have value on Konversai. Knowledge providers have the opportunity to charge as much as they want for their sessions, while knowledge seekers have the opportunity to learn exactly what they want to on a particular topic from an actual human being. The best part is you don’t have to leave your home. All you need is a device with Internet connection and Skype or FaceTime. With Konversai, someone living in New York City can take Bollywood dance classes from someone living in India. An Australian who is planning a trip to South America can talk to someone who lives there who can tell them anything they need to know about their trip based on their interests and what they’re hoping to get out of their time abroad. Sessions take place at times that are mutually convenient for both users involved. All users are encouraged to be both knowledge providers and knowledge seekers on any and as many topics as they wish. Whether you are engaged in a session as a provider or a seeker on Konversai, you are sure to come out feeling enriched.

If you want to learn more about cultural competency or travel in Asia, book a session with with Teresa on Konversai.

Edited by Pavita Singh

 

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2 Replies to “From Germany with Love: Konversation on Cultural Competency with Teresa Hacket”

  1. Teresa’s wide experience about cultural sensitivity is indeed admirable! I’ve learned so much from this blog post. Thank you and God bless…

    1. We are so glad you enjoyed this post, Larra! We encourage you to book a session with Teresa on Konversai if you would like to learn more from her experiences.

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