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Cultural Proficiency

Olivia Clarke
April 28, 2020

Cultural awareness is when one has a vast understanding of the roles that cultural difference and diversity plays during day-to-day life. Valuing others for their cultures and having the ability and knowledge to assist people from other cultures. Similarly, there is Cultural competence which is the ability to understand, communicate and effectively interact with people across all cultures. Being aware of one's own world view, developing positive attitudes towards cultural differences, whilst also gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews at the same time.

Cultural Proficiency is distinguished by those who put knowledge of cultures as a top priority. Those people put all their time and energy into making themselves fully aware of these things and using that knowledge in daily life. On the other hand there is Cultural incapacity which is where one has a complete lack of understanding for other cultures other than your own. (sometimes not even your own) This can make everyday life quite challenging, for example in the workplace, unable to help minority clients due to personal beliefs or opinions. This can impact their career as they may not be able to work efficiently due to cultural bias. Cultural pre competence is the desire to offer quality services and be committed to other cultures. The ability to accept each other's differences and respect their beliefs. Having the ability to continue to expand knowledge from different cultures and traditions whilst still being respectful.

These are all things that can help you become a well rounded human being. Every culture is interesting and special in its own way, that is why more people need to educate themselves on different cultures. It's a life skill, just like being able to read and write, you can teach yourself to have a basic understanding of a variety of cultures. And if you simply don’t care to learn, then you are missing out on so much. I understand that this knowledge is partly to do with the way you have been raised, not every parent teaches their kids these things, nor do all parents have this knowledge themselves. But I do think having this awareness can benefit your life. People shouldn't be ashamed of being intrigued and interested about someone's culture, it's a good thing to want to learn more. It can benefit you later in life, as you will be able to communicate better with co workers etc. By immersing yourself into learning about other cultures you grasp a better understanding of the world that we live in today, this is very useful if you plan on going travelling. As Edward T. Hall explains with his “Cultural Iceberg” theory, only a few elements of culture are visible, for example, language, music, food, architecture and artwork. Hence why he calls it the Cultural “Iceberg”, only a few things are visible, the rest is below the surface. These are all very clear when you visit a country for the first time. Knowing these things when travelling can enhance the overall experience whilst in any country. This is something everyone can take into consideration during this pandemic, take this opportunity to educate yourself.

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