The aim of this project is to analyze an intercultural encounter that involved some kind of misunderstanding or miscommunication. I was not involved in the situation I have chosen, but I find it interesting due to the fact that provides data to apply several of the concepts that have been studied during the "Intercultural Communication" course.
First, I will start explaining the intercultural encounter, focusing on describing the place, the participants, and the behavior noticed. I will also try to give as many additional information as possible.
In this study, the following concepts will be used:.
- Cultural shock.
- Space and touch.
- Power distance.
- Gender roles.
I will also try to connect the different concepts among them in order to make our study easy to follow and to understand. Examples from similar situations will be also given.
Last week a friend of mine came to visit me from Spain. I went to pick her up at the airport and we went to my accommodation, where she was going stay with me for one week. As soon as we arrived, we met a Latvian guy and I introduced him to her. The Spanish way of behaving when you meet a new person is giving two kisses, one on each cheek. This is the most popular way of doing it, specially between young people. Shaking hands is only used between boys or in very formal situations.
So, my friend gave two kisses to the Latvian guy and he was really surprised. He was not expecting this kind of behavior, so he smiled, looked at me and said "Oh! I like Spanish girls, please, bring more friends like that" When she heard that, my friend felt really embarrassed. I explained to her that in most of the European countries is more usual to shake hands when you are introduced to a person. She already knew that, but she did not realize when she met that guy.
At night we went out for a drink with a large group of international students. Keeping in mind the incident on my accommodation, my friend started shacking hands when I introduced her to the rest of my friends.