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5. Barriers to Effective Intercultural Communication (Beebe 7e, pp.

When I first moved to the state of Utah, I was surprised at the ethnocentric way of
life that the LDS members that I encountered lived. The cultural shock was so
overwhelming that I was initially considering moving back to California. I now know
that it was a misunderstanding that occurred due to my lack of knowledge on the
As the author of the textbook states on chapter 4 p. 104, he believed that virtually
all cultural groups are ethnocentric to some degree. I kept listening to stories told
by my young niece telling me that kids at school would tell her that they could not
play with her because she was not LDS and their standards were superior to those
that others lived by. I was brought up by parents that always told me that although
religions have different beliefs, every one of them and their members were to be
respected. It is acceptable to have some level of ethnocentrism as long as it is not
extreme to the point where it becomes a major interpersonal or intercultural
communication barrier.
According to the text, p. 101, the language barrier can become an intercultural
communication issue during translation, since the meaning can be missed or
mangled. Sometimes it happens within the same language if two persons from
different cultural backgrounds have a different understanding of what one word
might mean. A second barrier in my experience as a new comer was the
intercultural communication apprehension. I experienced apprehension after
a couple of mothers turned their back on me as if I did not exist after I explained to
them that I was not attending an LDS ward since I was not a member of that
religion. After that I was almost afraid to speak to any of the neighbors for fear of
being shunned again. The anxiety of not knowing how our neighbors were going to
react to our lifestyle once they learned that we were not part of their group and
had different ways of practicing our own religion.
Our textbook lists the six main intercultural communication barriers as: language
differences, body language, negative stereo types and prejudices, feelings and
emotions, level of context, and value of time.
The only recommendations on how I and everybody else can improve intercultural
communication in the future probably goes along with what my parents always
preached, you learn to understand that we are all different, we think and act
different as well. The main goal should be to just allow you to be open to meeting
and accepting other cultures. By accepting the differences of others we will
definitely enhance our lives and the lives of those around us.