Published: February 22, 2018
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By: Austin Coleman, SDSU Fowler College of Business
One of the class assignments I had that helped me achieve better global perspective was a travel guide project in my Communications 371 class. This class was geared toward international communications and one of our final projects was to create a tourist itinerary about a country other than the US. Other than just choosing tourist spots and how long we were going to be there, we had to figure out the budget, and incorporate crucial information regarding traditions, customs, and other cultural values. For this project, I chose Japan and my eyes quickly widened at how different American/Western culture is from Japanese culture. For example, as a tourist, sometimes you’re not sure where to go and you would ask a citizen for directions. Pointing is considered threatening in their culture and people indicate direction with an open hand. Another custom is to not walk and eat at the same time. It is considered sloppy and more common to have people stand or crouch when eating the street food. Those are just a few examples that reminded me what we believe normal in America could be the complete opposite in other countries around the world. This plays a huge factor into international business because you wouldn’t want to offend any clients or business partners in any way, shape, or form during meetings.