The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Jonathan Hu '23 RGLP Reflection: Cross-cultural Communication in a Global Context

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The advent of globalization has brought about rapid development and opportunities for intercultural exchange at an unprecedented rate. The coronavirus pandemic had also further catalyzed collaboration across borders through online platforms such as Zoom and Slack, changing the way we interact with our friends and family on a daily basis. However, increased opportunities in global interaction has also increased friction between groups of people due to a lack of cross-cultural understanding and improper contextualization of the diverse communities that inhabit our world. Globalization alone has not brought acceptance of various cultural practices, differing opinions, and misinterpreted social constructs even in the 21st century. Unfortunately, the pandemic has actually reinforced stereotypes about certain ethnic groups and created a hostile environment under which genuine discussion cannot be facilitated. RGLP allows for the creation of an open-minded forum to discuss current events, such as COVID-19 and rising violence against members of the Asian-American community. Differences across cultures are not inherently bad, but failure to understand the perspective of other cultures within a certain contextual framework can lead to negative outcomes. Participating in RGLP helped me and my colleagues reconcile some of these differences and open our minds to the endless possibilities of cross-cultural linkages as well as shared experiences. Through case studies, in-depth breakout discussions, acting out scenarios, and a final presentation encapsulating all of these topics, I came away with a stronger understanding about what it means to be multicultural citizen and how to communicate more effectively as a global leader. The plethora of talented and engaging guest speakers made every meeting exciting and captured thought-provoking elements from across the world. Intercultural communication has also acted as a bridge between borders, showing us how social constructs can aid or sometimes impede the process of learning through the perspective of others. Challenging our internal biases and longstanding perceptions about the world was definitely a huge benefit from engaging with this program. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in RGLP and think that anyone who wants to enhance their understanding of themselves and others should definitely give it a shot!

Written by Jonathan Hu, a member of the Spring 2021 Cohort of the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program

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