(Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.)
Interestingly, for some people that is comforting, to get to know people. And it will lead to feeling more at home where you are, which will make your experience less stressful as well. Reaching out to your interpreters, even staff who might be working in the kitchens, so to speak, some of those could be third country nationals or local nationals. Reaching out informally. Talking to them about what’s going on in their world, what’s important to them. Understanding more about where you are and the people that are around you all the time, who might be speaking a foreign language that you don’t completely understand, may only understand little pieces of it. Knowing more about how they see the world, what they think is important, and realizing that a lot of the components of what they think is important is the same things that you think of, their family, or worrying about the future. Things that are important to all of us universally can make you feel more comfortable. I think that’s especially important being in some of these regions that personnel are operating in that can be dangerous and stressful, and if you can have a few strategies to help you feel more comfortable, I think that can really help you, long-term.
A culture expert discusses strategies for dealing with the stresses of intercultural encounters.