Compare And Contrast Essay On Cultures

Brazil Vs USA Culture

Traveling to different parts of the world exposes you to different cultures. An individual traveling from America to Brazil will find it interesting and sometimes confusing to live and interact with the natives because of the cultural differences. Nonetheless, it would not take a long time before they realize that there is so much to appreciate and learn from Brazil. Indeed, though Brazilian culture is different from that of the Americans, it is exciting to learn from it.

Different Ways of Communication and More Respect for Seniors

Beginning from communication, you are likely to enjoy talking to a Brazilian than to an American. Brazilian people may not be in a hurry during conversations and are very friendly. They are likely to use an ambiguous form of communication in order to appeal to the emotions of the audience. On the other hand, the Americans have many tasks to accomplish in a day, which means that they have little or not time to converse. They will prefer using precise language when describing facts.

Respect is accorded to the elderly in Brazil. The superiors in the society are also ranked and respected. The children are supposed to obey their seniors. Students have to respect their teachers and involve them in learning. The most successful and respected people dress differently, which means that it is not difficult to identify them. On the other hand, the American culture is such that people have to earn their respect. The children are encouraged to remain independent and explore the world. Students’ initiatives are regarded in the culture. Further, dress code is not used to indicate how successful an individual is in the society.

Ways of Accomplishing Tasks at the Work Place

At the work place, social harmony is ranked in Brazil. Efforts that boost cooperation among workers are encouraged. You are also likely to find more employers being concerned about the welfare of the workers. In American culture, workers are encouraged to be assertive and productive. Achieving goals is more important for individual workers because good rewards are offered in the end. Cooperation is only encouraged if the worker is able to achieve the expected results.

Additionally, Brazilians find it easy to do business with individuals. They trust people more and hence can engage them in business. Americans, on the other hand, prefer doing business with companies. Their focus is on accomplishing tasks and may therefore find individuals hard to work with. They will have more material possession than the Brazilians because of their strategic planning in business. Indeed, the Brazilian culture is interesting and different from the American culture.

Culture directly affects the way individuals communicate with each other. When you cross the divide between east and west, you’ll surely notice a difference in communication. In eastern cultures, where collectivism reigns, you will meet with nonverbal and indirect communication, which can sometimes be frustrating for westerners. On the flipside, eastern cultures might be affronted by individualistic western culture, which breeds a more direct and concrete line of communication. We will examine how the perception of saving face, social power and direct versus indirect communication diverges between eastern and western cultures.

Saving face is not unique to any culture; preserving one’s image is universal and humanly ingrained. However, the east and the west view “face” differently, thus they go about saving face in a different manner. In the west, one must first make a face for oneself, and a person does so by setting him/herself apart from the pack, whether through personal achievement, status, wealth, etc. Once face is made, maintaining it might involve remaining relevant or unique, which often lies in asserting individual opinion and doing so vocally. Saving face in an eastern collectivist society is quite the opposite. One does not wish to stand out, be aggressive or assert opinion, as this, on the contrary, often damages face. Instead, eastern culture promotes group harmony, avoiding conflict at all costs. If a person loses face in an eastern culture, it’s nearly impossible to get it back.

The egalitarian culture of the west versus the hierarchy in eastern cultures creates a chasm where social power is concerned. Again, this has much to do with saving face. In a western company, to assert oneself as a new employee shows ambition, which is considered a good character trait by western standards. However, if a new or younger employee in an eastern company was to come across as outspoken or ambitious, he/she would appear disobedient and even, perhaps, disloyal to upper management and, thus, would lose face. This is due to the concentration of power being much more top-heavy in eastern cultures.

These disparities between the east and the west create great differences in communication, the east being nonverbal and indirect, and the west being direct and concrete. A western person will not often speak in riddles of which the listener must guess the meaning. Instead, a westerner speaks exactly what he means, and this directness can often be perceived by the east as ill-mannered. Honesty, openness and pointed speech are the keystones of western communication. In the east, the meaning of the spoken word might be in direct contrast with a person’s actions. Meaning is fudged in communication, so as to preserve the relationship. Being direct – for instance, giving someone a direct “no” – is seen as harsh; hence, speaking so directly would lose one face.

Eastern and western cultures’ views on the perception of saving face, social power and directness versus indirectness create this divergence in communication. However, it is important to note that differences do not mean it’s impossible for two different cultures to communicate. Though it may be more difficult, a simple adjustment of cultural sensitivity will make conversation run smooth.

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