GCD reflection – intercultural communication

I am full Korean who speaks three languages, Korean as my first language, Japanese as my second and English as my third language. Being bilingual allowed me to realize my different attitude and register between speaking those three languages. when I speak Japanese I tend to be more formal and respectful. For example, in normal conversation between my friends and family, who they can speak Japanese, I tend to code-switch to Japanese when I ask a favor or say an apology, as it has more polite tone. Therefore, knowing three different languages means more than just able to communicate in different languages, as it teaches me different culture as well.

When I came back to Japan in grade 6, it was my job to communicate with local people when I go outside with my mother and sister, as I was able to speak Japanese.  I was able to communicate with people at shops and restaurants. At shops, I asked the workers whether they sell a certain product when I couldn’t find it. At restaurants, I ordered the food for my family as a representative and helped my parents when they were paying for the food by translating between Japanese and Korean. When I talk to local people, since Japan is a culture that values manner, I talk to the people in formal words, regardless of their age, as I met them for the first time.

From these experience, I learned how it is important to pay attention and show affection towards peoples from a different country and value their culture to communicate and construct a good relationship with people from different countries.


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