First Week -
Meetings with colleagues
I had my first lecture and seminar this week. Although I’ve meet some of my course mates last week during the induction meeting, there are a lot of new faces that I have never seen. During the induction meeting with my course mates, I was expecting a lot of local student from UK. I looked around and I saw 5 westerners, they look like British. After introducing ourselves, the 5 westerners were from Germany, Greece and Russia. Many of the international students are from Asia and Africa, there are China, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Nigeria and Tanzania.
My feelings were conflicting, on one side, I’m disappointed that there are not a single British in the course, on the other, I was happy to see the diversity of the course. This could provide me the settings and the environment of international business. I’m given the opportunity to work and communicate with people from different cultures, from emerging countries to the most successful countries in Europe. It is interesting to see and understand their culture which will help me in my future career.
The first exchange of culture is the hand shake, in terms of time period and firmness, there is a bit of variation but it is not significant. The first sentence that we exchanged with each other is name and countries. Names are probably the hardest to deal with, people find it hard to pronounce and remember names that are not familiar with. For example, it is a challenge for me to remember African names. In order to overcome the complexity of names, I’ve adopted Edward as my english name which ease my colleagues and tutors to call me.
There is another cultural differences that I observed in the lecture by Ms Clare Moonan is that UK and my country have different views on good manners. In the lecture, she said that it is rude not to say thank you or please to the waiter or cashier. In UK, when we order food from the bar, we will start of with, “Can I have a big breakfast meal?”. In Malaysia, we will just say, “I want to order a big breakfast meal”. When the waiter ask whether to add extra bacon, “Do you want extra bacon?”. British will say, “Yes please” but Malaysian will just say “Yes” or just nod. It seems to me that Ms Clare Moonan is taking this as a rude behavior which is perfectly fine in my country.
Language is also another barrier that I’ve encountered, we speak English, but the accent or slang is thick. Especially colleagues from India and Vietnam, I find it quite hard to understand them. Sometimes, it is hard for others to understand my english as well, I have to talk slower and louder in order for them to understand what I’m trying to say.
As a conclusion, I’m very excited and looking forward to work with people from different backgrounds. I understand that in order to prevent misunderstands due to cultural differences, I must first improve my English.
In the first week, I thought that people were late for lectures and seminars because of the procedures or the process of admission that they need to settle. This week, i release that, they were just late with no particular reasons at all. It is the same people that were late to the class. There is a guy who came in almost 40 minute after the lectures started. I was wondering whether this was acceptable to any cultures.
The first few friends I’ve made is from India, we were allocated in a group in the Global Business Environment seminar. This week, we were assigned to present a topic on Globalisation. Prior to the seminar, we sat at Heartspace Cafe to discuss our presentation. The seminar starts at 3.00 pm, when we reached the class 5 minutes before 3.00 pm, there was no one there yet. They panicked as soon as they saw the empty room. One of them asked “Are we in the right place? Did the tutor canceled the class?”. I told them that we are in the...