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Lunch Lecture: Intercultural Communication

Constructive Intercultural Contact is a new concept that describes what you can do to make an intercultural encounter comfortable and successful, not only for yourself but also for your counterpart.

Constructive intercultural contact is defined by five elements or actions. They are needed in order to overcome different difficulties which you can encounter when in contact with someone of another cultural background. These difficulties have to do with our stereotypes and prejudices, with arbitrary status differences we make and with the fact that mostly both phenomena are active implicitly. How to overcome prejudices?

  • Actively taking responsibility: accept that you are influenced by prejudices in order to postpone judgment
  • Postpone judgment
  • Relativize culture: tempt to put culture into the foreground, but also do not deny it
  • Take perspective: you can correct your idea of competition
  • Show respect

After explaining briefly the ’causes’ of this difficulties, Hans Spijkerman explained why and how constructive intercultural contact helps to overcome them. It is important to keep in mind that constructive intercultural contact concerns both participants in the interaction and that it is about the process itself of the interaction and not the result.