• Posted by: MOTIVATE students

When we met in Berlin for the Summerschool in September, one of Anniken’s goals was to eat a proper Berlin Döner (Niklas had to write it because Anniken does not have the ö-key on her keyboard, a big cultural communication issue). This proved to be difficult, as we discovered that our eating habits were WAY off. Niklas wanted to get a Döner after he went to the gym, which was initially fine for Anniken as Norwegians usually eat dinner around 16:00. But what Anniken did not know was that Niklas exercised late and would eat dinner at 00:00 in the night. This resulted in Niklas having to eat Döner on his own, and Anniken only getting a picture of Niklas and the Döner.

Intercultural communication refers to the process of communication between people from different cultural backgrounds. It involves understanding and effectively conveying information across cultural boundaries, like language, customs, and values. But what is culture? Culture is a difficult term to define, as it is complex and can be understood and interpreted in various ways by different people. It is not static, but adaptable and influenced by social factors and history. In our opinion, culture is about what is shared within a group, as much as it is about classification systems.

Our differences lie partly in our culture, and while communicating we might sometimes forget this. Speaking to each other can be hard, especially when it comes to expressing feelings or needs and sometimes you also find yourself in a situation where you don’t speak the same language, or you struggle understanding each other because some words only exist in some languages. When Niklas said that we could eat after he had exercised, he assumed that we both usually ate at the same time. Likewise, Anniken assumed that Niklas would not eat that late. This is where our miscommunication in our intercultural communication was created; in our cultural difference and in us assuming that the other person lived their life like our own.

Next time we meet in Trondheim, we will make sure to plan our meals better with a set time. Maybe even try to meet halfway (like the black eyed peas song supposed) between our eating times, around 18:00. And then we will eat Norway’s unlikely national dish: the frozen Grandiosa pizza.