I enjoy sports and I play sports in the school teams. Our school belongs to a group called AISA where it has 3 Korean schools. I am the captain of the varsity boys volleyball team and in games, it is my duty to talk to referees when there is a problem. In the tournament hosted in Busan International Foreign School, BIFS, I had the privilege to lead the team and communicate with the opponent and the referees. The referees in BIFS were all Koreans which made it harder for me to communicate because I don’t speak their language. However I was able to communicate by using the limited knowledge Korean and a lot of hand gestures. I had limited knowledge on Korean as a foreigner. Hello, thank you, excuse me was the only words I knew before I went to tournaments in Korea. However I soon learned how to say ball and more sport-specific words.
What I realised as I played sports in South Korea is that there are a lot of cultural differences from Japan. There were moments of misunderstanding which the referee did not listen to us when in Japan they would stop the game and listen to us. So the strategy I took was to take my time before game to thoroughly ask questions on how they would make the calls. By doing this I was also able to understand their perspective on the game. I was effectively able to use my communication skills to convey my thoughts but more importantly understand the opponent’s view. This event made me realise how there are more than one platform of communication. I used to think that verbal and written language was the only way to communicate. However I now know that this isn’t the case and visual language (Body language) is another effective way to communicate. I believe that language can transform into many different forms because I was not able to understand the verbal language but still understood the referee’s body language and their facial expression which is a form of language.
I can confidently say that I am able to understand the difference in form of language and how that affects the communication intercultural communication.