Cultures and Co-Cultures

A Culture is the language, values, beliefs, traditions, and customs people share and learn according to Larry Samovar and his colleagues (2007). Culture includes two different groups called in-groups which are groups that you identify yourself with and out-groups which is a group of people we view as different (Frings & Abram, 2010; Quist & Jorgensen, 2010). Examples of culture is the foods we eat, holidays we celebrate, the type of music we listen to, or even how we address someone. A co-culture is groups of people banded through beliefs, values, behaviors, and a culture inside a larger culture (Ober & Spellers, 2005).

Being a member of a co-culture can be a source of pride and yet you are more likely to feel disadvantaged if you are part of a minority co-culture with would cause you to feel unfulfilled. Examples of co-cultures are age, race, religion, nationality, activities, and also economic status. A culture that I could identify with would be the family closeness. The reason that I could identify with the family closeness is because in my family no matter what happens family comes first. For every holiday, birthday, or celebration it is tradition that my family will be there for me.

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In any big decision they will help me make it and choose the right path for my future. We believe that if anyone is ever in need of assistance we will be there to help them. Another culture that I am a part of would be that the husband/ father is the bread winner. The husband is expected to make the most money so he can provide for his family. He is the person that makes all of the important final decisions and protects his wife and kids from harm. Other countries have a sort of identical type of culture. For example the Mexican culture, they are centered around family.

They feel it is their place to help and be responsible for family members. The Mexican culture can also identify with the fact that the father is the head of the family and that he is the authority figure and decision-maker. The mother’s role is seen as secondary compared to the father role. Just like it is in most American families. Co-cultures are just like a branch off of a culture. In the case of the culture that I am part of, being a teenage would be a co-culture. Since I am a teenager of the American culture it means that my age is between 13 and 18.

Life as a teen is hard at this time because of either going into high school, trying to figure out which college to attend, or maybe even it is just the nerves of not returning back to school after your senior year. Teens are very social and always hanging out with their friends. Family starts to become a little less important. Teens start to believe that they are always right and start to get lippy to their parents so problems start to appear in the parent child relationship. Another co-culture that I am a part of is being in Student Council at school.

As a member of Student Council it is a tradition that we all come together every other Tuesday for a meeting. At said meeting we all discuss stuff that is happening at school and what we believe should happen in the future to make it better. We have all joined this club because we have something in common and which is wanting to help others in our school and community. Intercultural Communication is the process that occurs when members of two or more cultures or co-cultures exchange messages in a manner that is influenced by their different cultural perceptions and symbol systems, both verbal and nonverbal ( Samovar et al, 2007).

An intercultural communication that I have partaken in would be when I went to Europe on a People to People trip two summers ago. While on my trip I went to six different countries, and when in Germany we had a three day home stay with a family we had never seen or talked too. It was a bit tense at the beginning and everyone seemed a bit nervous including the home stay family. The language barrier was tough to overcome because I did not speak German and they only spoke broken English and the youngest daughter did not speak English at all.

Their nonverbal communication was a bit standoffish and they kind of seemed a bit disappointed when I did not understand a joke. They did show me around Germany and it was strange to see all of the different signs and symbols that were around. The speed limit signs where weird to see since they were in kilometers not MPH. Even at restaurants it was hard to tell where the bathrooms where located because the sign would be in German. One night at dinner we were having a conversation and they all started laughing at something that one person had said in German, I did not know what they were laughing at and just sat there.

Later on the mom started to try and tell me what it meant in English but I did not really find in the funny so I still did not laugh. Everyone at the dinner table just stopped eating and stared at me. I felt like I was being scrutinized by them all and it was very uncomfortable. After dinner that night I just went to my room and kind of thought to myself maybe I should have just laughed to make it less awkward for everyone. It was not a good intercultural communication experience at all. I have never really had any cultural stereotypes about Germans before this conversation and after I think I did create a few in my mind.

I sort of thought that Germans were a bit mean after that experience. Yes, I would also say that I did have ethnocentric feelings of feeling that Americans are more superior after that experience because I was a bit disappointed about how my whole home stay went. I look back on it now and realize that they were just acting how they normally would have because that is their culture. My home stay family would have probably acted the same way I did if the roles were reversed. Cultures and co-cultures are different and yet similar all over the world.

It is how you interoperate the other cultures language, values, beliefs, traditions and customs that make the world a better place. If everyone just learned to understand other cultures there would be world peace and new respect for others.

Bibliography

Mexico- language, culture, costums and etiquette. (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://www. kwintessential. co. uk/resources/global-etiquette/mexico-country-profile. html Adler, R. B. , Rosenfeld, L. B, & Proctor , R. F. (2013). Interplay. (12th ed. ). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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