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How to Tackle Cultural Differences in College??

Culture DifferencesIndia- the sub-continent with 29 states and seven union territories- has rich diversities in cultures. While stepping inside an alien culture, you come across differences at places, which appear mystifying yet warm up cockles of your heart with their uniqueness. The dissimilarities, which appeared almost unbridgeable in cultures before centuries, have now knitted the entire nationhood in one common thread of unity! To prove this, take the instance of food in the vast expanses of land from Kashmir to Kanyakumari .

Being an east-Indian, what would you look for in the menu for breakfast, when you step into the boundary of Jammu and Kashmir? Your eyes search for Dosha, Idli, Badda, and cup of steaming Coffee, which are your favorites in your breakfast. But these South Indian delicacies bind the nation in rare harmony that anyone would find surprising. This is how the cultural differences bind us in unison as the beads in a necklace do. The kaleidoscope of culture in India is simply intriguing and marvelous. Let me narrate my story that took place, when I stepped out of comforts of my parent’s house and chose to study in a distant Kerala, situated at thousands of miles away from my home in Kolkata. Like me, when you move to a different location and find yourself struggling in an unfamiliar culture, these tips would win you hearts and bring life-long bonding of love and companionship.

The First day in Campus

First day in collegeIt was the memorable induction programme. The dais, bedecked with wreaths of marigold flowers, as impressive as the grave but beautiful faces of co-mates of  B.Tech course in Engineering colleges. All new faces sat in silence and in nervous excitement that something thrilling was going to open up. The Chief Guest and faculties from different departments like Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering etc. delivered their long sermon about value of true education and need for discipline and hard-work in the study.

Then when the request for self-introduction came from the college authorities, microphone simply went from one to another person.I made a swift introduction but cleverly mixed a dose of humor in my words that had the entire audience smiling and looking at me. I knew from the depth of my heart that healthy humor could make an exception among others and that was the first trick that worked miraculously to open hearts in a gathering. I kept smiling after the self-introduction session and came to know that my tenure in the college would have boys and girls from every part of the nation. It was just the beginning of a session that would last for four years.

Understanding the backgrounds of various cultures-my first task

Understanding the backgroundsI had read about the origin of every religion in India about the multi-hued culture, which has survived for thousands of years. In my course in Kerala, literally I took it as an opportunity to apply my cultural intelligence in my behavior that helped me considerably to have practical understanding about the backgrounds of various cultures. I was always on my toe when it came to deal with the beliefs and attitudes of my class-mates. I adapted quickly when I came to know the cultural differences. This made me intimate with everyone.

Applying emotional intelligence with everyone in the group

Applying emotionalI was always making my sincere efforts to pick up all related information about local culture in Kerala and beliefs and attitudes of people, who studied with me. I tried to mingle with everyone and tried to gauze the depth of his or her feelings. Although, certain students belonging to different states and local persons of Kerala were at first trying to avoid me, I was very careful not to hurt their sentiments and kept myself polite with one and all. I reached out to someone and served when him well when he was sick. I picked up local dialect while thanking someone. This pleased hearts that I was trying to adapt without making least effort to show off my own language and culture. This gradually won hearts and brought me appreciation from others. My suggestion is you need not be an expert in culture, when you study outside your state. Rather, when you show true empathy, observation, and wisdom to study people that works like magic in wooing people around you.

The Art of Listening- most vital

The Art of Listening- most vitalWhen you have the patience to listen to people, gradually you become the most sought-after person in a group. I was less interested to pour out words from my mouth but listen to everyone in my group. I was least argumentative but carefully listened to everyone’s words. Gradually, I was the person that almost every person in the group was looking for.

The Art of Speaking in a balanced way

The Art of Speaking in a balanced wayWhen I spoke in a seminar, presentation, or in a personal discussion, I kept my words balanced without making those sound offensive and aggressive. For example, when someone asked me about the possibility of a solution in Kashmir, I held out opinion that we needed to facilitate political dialogue, while the security forces could play their role in controlling law and order situation. Balanced opinion-making formed opinion about me that I was really logical in my views and would be the last person to talk aggressively. Over a period of time, everyone lauded my intelligence and wanted me to be by their side.

No sarcastic remark about religion

No sarcastic remark about religion“Silence is always golden”-this is the supreme rule for expressing secular views over religious issues. During my stay in the campus, I always steered clear of making any hurtful remark against any religion. When I saw a group of students celebrating their festive occasion, I was the first one to join them in celebration.

Creating an atmosphere for learning

atmosphere of learningAlthough I found a number of errant students in our batch, there were boys and girls, who wanted to contribute to the atmosphere of co-learning and co-existence. Unity in diversity served as the golden principle in overcoming stress and homesickness. If someone has not eaten during a night due to any reason, it was my duty to serve him with something so that he would not sleep in any empty-stomach. Whenever any student faced a genuine problem, I took the initiative to take it the authorities of college and present there constructively, ensuring that would get solved.

Hatred for politics and non-students  

No PoliticsI was the one to stay away from students’ politics and unionism. “Excellence in study and co-curricular activities” was my ultimate motive. Whenever anyone incited us for politics and strife among students, I simply said a bold-“NO”. I was equally indifferent to pressure and influence from people, who were not students but made every effort to interfere in the affairs of college.

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