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CULTURAL AWARENESS UNDERSTANDING HOW CULTURE IMPACTS OUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS


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“ �

- fons trompenaars and

charles hampden-turner, riding the waves of culture


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TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction: Culture and Communication

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Television and Movies

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Reading

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Music

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Cross Culture

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Be Interested

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Get Involved

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Sources

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CULTURE & COMMUNICATION Cultural awareness refers to the ability to be cognizant, observant, and conscious of one’s own culture, as well as of similarities and differences among and between various cultural groups. To be a successful idea generator and communicator, you have to pay attention to social and cultural trends and be respectful of diversity. Cultural awareness is the foundation for effective communication – it provides the opportunity to communicate to diverse audiences through building common frameworks for people to interact within. Being culturally cultural barriers of race, religion, class, age, or gender. Culture is a multifaceted concept, but it’s all around us, constantly impacting our personal and professional values, beliefs, and behaviors. Paying attention to culture can help us better understand the world around us, recognize different and contemporary way.


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TELEVISION & Television and movies have a predominant role in understanding and accepting cultures, differences, and identities of cultures around the world in a way that is easy to comprehend and connect to. These mediums have not only affected the way people connect to culture, but also how communications professionals connect to the public.

The show’s tag line, “One big (straight, gay, multi-cultural, traditional) happy family,” pretty much sums it up. Modern Family immerses the viewer in what it is like to live in a family comprised of several cultures.

Bravo’s hit series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy follows men gain sophistication in fashion, food, design, and culture by giving them complete makeovers. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy combines two very different cultures and from the other.

Glee is a teen musical drama that encompasses several social and cultural issues. The show discusses a range of issues, including teen pregnancy, physical disability, eating disorders, LGBT

Portlandia portrays the culture of our own Portland, Oregon. Through a series of comedy sketches, Portlandia teaches the viewer about the unique and hilarious lives of Portland natives, though they are sometimes a bit exaggerated.


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MOVIES Learning about culture via television and movies is an effective way to help us understand the world around us and become more aware of how to interact with different people. Though some forms of these mediums may not be blunt in their cultural lessons, they provide a window into the life of another, even if only for an hour or two. Here are some examples that provide a glimpse into diversity:

The Breakfast Club tells the dents from different social groups who come to realize they have more in common with each other than they had thought. This movie is an example of how following stereotypes can hinder successful communication.

Remember the Titans is based on a true story of cultural fusion. This movie portrays the story of an African-American coach who teaches his group of black and white students to see past racial walls and work together as a newly integrated team.

Freedom Writers is also based on a true story of a new teacher who educates her class of minority, low-income, and how to express themselves through writing and break cultural barriers.

Hotel Rwanda tells a story of war connected to ethnic violence. It represents a culture of war that remains unfamiliar to Americans not involved in the military, which piece in understanding international culture.


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some readings to get you interested:


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READING The importance of reading seems intuitive to many of us, but some may not realize how big of a role it plays in understanding culture. Though class-assigned books are important and can provide cultural insights, exploring different books outside of the classroom may be more benas art, history, classics, language, theater, fashion, and more, can boost one’s ability to become open-minded to new concepts and to communicate. The more we know and understand about the world, the better we can connect to it. Utilizing different types of reading materials, such as books, magazines, newspapers, and online resources, can not only broaden one’s perception of the world, but also one’s ability to communicate more effectively with others


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MUSIC Music is a unique part of the human culture that has brought us together for as long as it has existed. Music is an important tool in understanding the values of other cultures. It allows people to put their differences aside and embrace their similarities and universal values. Through music, we are able to communicate our thoughts, emotions, and ideas in a way that is globally comprehensible, as music does not require spoken word. Each genre of music has a different style that repcome more aware of cultural diversity and thus become a better communicator.


10 originated in the Bronx, particularly among African American youth. It represents street and urban culture. has been the heart and soul of American culture for many years, representing a Western lifestyle.

has the construction of our national identity by bringing African and European cultures together.

expresses that “ Music which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.

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- victor hugo

originated in Southern America. It is a combination of all genres and various cultures, which contributes to its worldwide popultarity.

originated in the 11th century from the traditions of Western music. It is representative of high culture and has timeless value.


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. . . . . . CROSS “

Cross means that you are steeped enough in understanding about the different ethnic groups that you can start to understand what things become meaningful to the mass … We see how different

Why is industry of advertising? Not many people know the answer to that, understanding and to me, that’s the challenge. What does this new mass mean in cross culture terms of how we now put messaging out? Because it can no lonmore relevant ger be the siloed sort of multi-cultural approach, it’s got to be an to communication of a particular group, but is of interest to the entire market. In this than new melting pot, if you will, it’s not blending in, it’s really celebrating multiculture?

what allows you to maybe be different or stand out, and it’s in that celebration that we are going to start to elevate how we think about strategy, and how we take some of these differences to a place that allows it to be about cross culture. -vita harris, draftfcb


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CULTURE

books to expand your cross cultural knowledge

who’s doing it right: Translation, a New York agency that bases its work on cultural awareness.

Today’s generation doesn’t think in terms of rigid demographic silos, like race, gender, and age. They relate based on shared values and interests. It’s a way of processing, understanding, and relating to the world—a collective mental complexion that was best articulated in Steve’s book, The Tanning of America. Because we believe brands that lead in culture are ultimately more successful and relevant than brands that follow culture. -translation’s philosophy


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WHAT YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF:


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multicultural traditions • • • • •

preferences, which include: religious beliefs political and economic ideology collectivist vs. individualist beliefs social habits and images as they don’t translate well across cultures.

For example, it is common to see images of women in bikinis in advertisements in America and in Europe, but such images would cause outrage in the Middle East.

international news It is important to keep up with international news because they can give you a better understanding of current events around the world and expand your multicultural knowledge. Check out these international news resources: • bbc.co.uk • france24.com • euronews.com • cnn.com/WORLD

language When trying to communicate to people of different cultures, you need to be aware that what one thing means to you, may mean something different in another language. In awareness is crucial. Not paying attention to language translation may cause miscommunication. For example, the introduction of the Ford Pinto in Brazil was unsuccessful because Brazilians did not want to be seen driving a car called a Pinto, which translates to ‘tiny male genitals.’

trends Following cultural and social trends can help you stay on top of what is popular amongst various groups of people. Keeping up with are happening and how they are affecting pop culture. Knowing current trends makes it easier to predict trends before they happen and apply this knowledge in your professional work. There are various places where you can monitor trends: • on social media via hashtags • on the street via observation • on Twitter: @trendhunter, @trendwatching • online: trendwatching.com, trndmonitor.com


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BE INTERESTED There is no way to learn about culture if you are not interested. Being interested means having the and stay interested, you might want to:

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Travel. Observe and absorb. Talk to new people whenever you can. Read more. Be street smart, as well as book smart. Get a hobby. Teach yourself a new skill. Join an organization or club.

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Use your spare time wisely. Keep up with trends. Watch a vareity of tv shows and movies. Record your thoughts and ideas. Listen to new genres of music. Learn a new language. Try new cuisine. Be curious.

Being and staying interested in the world around you helps you become more culturally aware and interesting, which will lead to your personal and professional success.


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GET INVOLVED Living in Eugene, we are a part of a culturally diverse community. We are surrounded by diversity every day, so international as well as non-traditional students and eccentric locals give you a great opportunity to gain cultural insight. On campus, there are many ways to get culturally involved through clubs, student magazines, study abroad programs, and various courses. Take advantage of these resources because they can truly help you become a part of local and international cultures. is a part of the EMU where students from all around the world can collaborate together and educate the community about the importance of diversity. presents a broad contemporary issues, and the visual sity and artistic expression. provides a space for international and domestic students to meet and learn about each other’s cultural backgrounds.

Ethos Magazine is a student-run publication that shares a multicultural spirit and tells stories of diversity, connecting people and culture. offers multiple study and service abroad opportunities for University of Oregon students, giving them the opportunity to explore new languages, cultures, environments, and new ways of viewing the world. provides students with trips to explore Oregon and the environment we live in. It helps students understand the intersection between culture and environment.


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SOURCES Photos • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

http://www.archerguitars.com/electricguitars.html http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/97/Steinway_%26_Sons_concert_grand_piano,_model_D-274,_manufactured_at_Steinway%27s_factory_in_ Hamburg,_Germany_cropped.jpg http://rotocade.com/lasonic-i931-boombox-with-ipod-cradle http://www.iguitarmag.com/news/2012/09/fender-unveils-three-additional-acoustic-models/ http://www.musik-produktiv.co.uk/fender-classic-series-50s-stratocaster-db.html http://nathansnews.com/pdf/download-Global-Issues-A-Cross-Cultural-Perspective/p1693223386/ http://www.circlecinema.com/archive/the-breakfast-club-1985/attachment/thebreakfast-club-poster http://twscritic.com/2011/09/30/movie-project-10-hotel-rwanda-2004/ http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ray_Stoney_on_set_of_Remember_The_ Titans.png http://gyrationnation.com/ http://glee.wikia.com/wiki/User:Epic_Gleek_Forever http://variety.com/2013/tv/news/bravo-sets-queer-eye-reunion-special-1200617081/ http://www.digitalspy.com/tv/s163/modern-family/news/a395980/modern-familykids-seek-pay-rise.html http://encourageyourspouse.com/crossing-it-off-a-date-from-the-bucket-list/music-notes-1/ http://www.uvm.edu/~intrnatl/iew/ Goodreads Amazon People.com Bon Appetit Vogue New York Times Jaimie Trueblood University of Oregon website


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Information • • • • • • • • •

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/international-marketing-strategy/ http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/cultural-services/articles/ cross-cultural-advertising.html http://www.adweek.com/video/advertising-branding/ why-cross-culture-trumps-multiculture-139215 imdb.com culturosity.com translationllc.com culturaldiversity.com.au J342 Creative Strategist Chris Chavez, Assistant Professor in Advertising, University of Oregon


Produced by: Alyssa Harvey, Veronika Hanson, and Kelsi Anderson University of Oregon 2013

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