Alrighty, so the world is irreversibly interconnected. And you know how the ability to communicate across borders and cultures has become more and more valuable.
But what you probably don’t know is that language exchange is not a mere language acquisition!
Language exchange is powerful to build global connections – it builds a vibrant bridge that spans cultures and perspectives, opening doors to friendships, understanding, and a deeper appreciation of the diverse tapestry of our planet.
Ahá! Now you see why we have been emphasizing the strong connection between linguistic exchange and the culture of all people!
Follow Speaky’s team to feel the transformative landscape of online language exchange can have in your life.
Why online language exchange can be so enriching
Here are the facts behind exchanging new languages that are connecting people everywhere.
Picture this: you’re a Spanish-speaking person, looking to master English, and you get paired up with an English-speaking buddy who’s “itching” to master Spanish.
It’s like language Tinder – a partner to learn a new language!
Now, these exchanges can take place in a chilly setting, either face to face or online, where you can just have an enjoyable, friendly chat.
No pressure here.
Of course, we’re all about language learning, but it’s not just about the words or the grammar topics – it’s about diving into the customs and traditions of the other person’s homeland.
And guess what? You will be boosting your foreign language while meeting cool peeps and making new pals. Plus, you get to broaden your horizons, soak up diverse cultures, and become more cosmopolitan than ever!
Now, here’s the juicy part: challenging each other to change behaviors (including practicing new tongue moves!) makes you both open-minded, worldly, and up for new adventures!
OK: The behaviors of people in each culture… new ways of thinking… adventures in an entirely new world…
Can you guess the name of that?
It’s time to dive into new cultures through language exchange!
So, here’s the deal, you can’t really become a language ninja until you’ve got a handle on the culture that language comes from.
In other words, to speak a language like a pro, you’ve got to understand where it’s coming from, culturally speaking. It’s like when you were a baby: you started picking up your first language just by being around your family and community. You soaked it all in like a sponge, didn’t you?
Learning a new language is the same – you have to dive into the culture it comes from.
Surround yourself with culture-related stuff (we have a list of it in a previous article) and – BAM!! Mastering that new language becomes very very easy, because they’ve already got the insight into the culture, making it all less confusing.
Sure, languages have their quirks, like different ways to say things and particular grammar rules, but cultural know-how can help smooth out those rough patches.
Language exchange is not just about words – it’s about cultural sensitivity!
When you’re a manager or an employee on a job-related trip to a foreign country or dealing with a diverse team right at home, navigating different cultures can be pretty daunting.
The mere fact that the world is becoming one big interconnected workplace can be discouraging, if you are on a job-related trip, or just on a touristic trip. There are cultural gaps that can be real stumbling blocks.
That’s where cultural sensitivity comes to the rescue!
Cultural sensitivity is all about being aware of and cool with cultural differences.
Are you like that?
It’s like having an open mind and not jumping to hasty conclusions about stuff that might seem strange from your culture. It’s about handling these differences like a winner.
Are you able to carry that out?
Now, mastering these cultural peculiarities is absolutely crucial when you’re dealing with international work. Studies even say that business people perform better and negotiate like pros when they’ve got that cultural sensitivity in their toolkit.
It’s about grasping the little things that make a culture unique, like body language, how people talk, and their customs.
So, there you have it: cultural sensitivity is your superpower for making connections in business or just making friends abroad.
Let ‘s be practical now.
How language exchange and cultural sensitivity are linked
Since cultural sensitivity is more about attitudes and behaviors, in an online language exchange you will be able to practice it in these ways:
Cultural sensitivity and language exchange go hand in hand, like this:
- Building trust and healthy relationships: Cultural sensitivity fosters trust and stronger relationships in language exchange. Show respect for your partner from another culture, and it can lead to more meaningful and productive language learning experiences. It’s like a bridge that connects you on a deeper level.
- Respect for cultural nuances: When you’re engaged in an language exchange app, like Speaky, you’re not just picking up words – you’re also diving into the culture it’s woven into. Being culturally sensitive means you respect and understand the nuances of that culture. And when you reach that ability, you will communicate more effectively (avoiding unintentional cultural misunderstandings).
- Appreciating diversity: Language exchange is a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the diversity of the world’s cultures – it will be clear from the first online partner you have. When you approach it with cultural sensitivity, you also gain a broader understanding and appreciation for the richness of human cultures. Of course, your language mastery will improve dramatically in the background!
- Realistic communication: Cultural sensitivity plays a massive role in effective communication during a language exchange. Understanding cultural gestures and social cues can help you express yourself better and comprehend your conversation partner more accurately.
- Avoiding cultural incidents: Learning a language often involves using idioms, humor, or expressions that are deeply rooted in culture. It’s a very sensitive aspect, as you must have already noticed! Without cultural sensitivity, you might inadvertently use them inappropriately or even offend someone. Only by being aware of the cultural context can you avoid these pitfalls.
- Enhancing language fluency: Cultural sensitivity can enhance your language fluency. Understanding the culture helps you grasp the context and meaning behind words, making your language learning more natural. And that ‘s fluency!
So, cultural sensitivity helps you communicate effectively while building meaningful relationships and diving into the cultural context of the language you’re learning.
After cultural sensitivity comes… cultural insight!
Both cultural sensitivity and cultural insight will be part of language exchange practice at different times.
Cultural insight refers to a deep understanding and knowledge of a specific culture. If you reach the cultural insight of your target language, you know about its history, customs, traditions, values, and social norms.
It’s all about diving deep into a culture, and that can really help you figure things out and handle cultural stuff like a pro!
Online language exchange is one of the ways you can acquire it (possibly the most engaging one), but you can also gain cultural insight through research and in-person interactions with individuals from that culture.
So, what’s the deal with cultural insights?
Well, think of cultural insights as the inside scoop on what makes a group of people tick. It’s all about knowing what they believe in, what they care about, and how they roll.
Let ‘s be practical, again.
What makes a French person French?
French people often take their time while dining. Meals are seen as opportunities for socializing and enjoying food, so it’s common to have long, multi-course meals with breaks for conversation.
If you want to master French, probably that will be one of your learned behaviors soon…
One more example: In Mexican culture they celebrate the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It’s a significant and unique cultural tradition that provides insight into Mexican values and beliefs.
And this celebration mixes Indigenous and Catholic Beliefs, so you will be more familiar with Aztec beliefs if you have a Mexican partner!
Exciting, isn‘t it?!
Let ‘s give you two tips to make the best of cultural insights during your online language exchange sessions!
- Dive into the culture: Just let go of generalizations and stereotypes, like, “Brazilians love soccer.” Instead, drop some knowledge like, “In Brazil, soccer is a thing, but not everyone is so enthusiastic about it.”
And to really get the lowdown on other cultures, take advantage of an online
language exchange partner to question these cultural details!
- Theme It up: Think themes to meet your language exchange partner! Come up with cool topics that tie into the culture. Like if you’re talking about the environment, go all in on stuff like the weather, eco-challenges, and green ideas in countries that speak the language. For example, search for a partner in Norway, if you want to learn Norwegian, because they’re all about that eco-friendly life!
To finish up
So there you have it: language and culture swapping – it’s all about learning, making friends, and leveling up in life. Are you in?
Join Speaky app today!