Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Communicating in different cultures

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Newbie Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Solight



Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Posts: 6
Location: Largo, Florida, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2003 3:57 pm    Post subject: Communicating in different cultures Reply with quote

I am preparing to do TESL within the next couple of years. I have been studying Spanish because I like the culture and their countries. However, I am curious about getting along in countries when you do not know the native languae. Do you feel isolated? How do you manage day to day activities with the non English speaking community?

One other question. Is there a demand for TESL specializing in medical or nursing? If so, where would I begin to search for this kind of job?

Thanks
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dorum



Joined: 02 Jul 2003
Posts: 35
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2003 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's much easier than you think! Just learning how to say/understand the numbers (money's always important) and little polite things like thank you and I'm sorry gets you a long way! Of course you'll eventually learn more, but if you put yourslf in this kind of situation, you'd be surprised how much you can sort out without a common language!
If I don't know how to say something, I can always find an English-speaker who can write it down for me (addresses for taxis and such)

Apart from deep and meaningful conversations, of course.....
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Solight



Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Posts: 6
Location: Largo, Florida, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2003 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am new to this (any) chat forum so forgive me if I goof up.

Are you in China now? Do you have other English speaking coworkers?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
C76



Joined: 13 Jun 2003
Posts: 113
Location: somewhere between beauty and truth...in Toronto. ;)

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2003 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just want to say, Solight, that I love your question. I'm looking forward to reading more answers.

Carry on. Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
denise



Joined: 23 Apr 2003
Posts: 3419
Location: finally home-ish

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2003 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I generally just smile a lot and try to act meek and humble. Even if I do know what to say, I usually don't remember at the time that I need to say it. The one thing that I try NOT to do is just start babbling in English--I wince every time I hear native speakers rambling on, assuming that everyone will understand them. Of course, if someone does try to help me in English, I answer in very clear, simple English. I usually end up using body language, expressions, etc., and not speaking very much, in English or in the local language.

I do not mean to suggest at all that what I do is a good strategy. I've been reflecting recently on how ironic it is that I am a language teacher who encourages my students to get out there and practice, practice, practice (well, maybe not in Japan, where they have limited access to native speakers, but in the States I was always telling them to go out and mix...), when I myself am far too shy and too lacking in linguistic self-confidence to create or take advantage of opportunities to speak. I have, however, always been able to take care of myself.

d
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jgalt



Joined: 23 May 2003
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with everything dorum and denise said, and just wanted to add to their helpful suggestions:

Learn how how to say "I'm sorry, I don't understand. Do you speak English?" This helps when someone on the street starts talking to you and you don't know what they're saying. Also, if you know even a little of another language, also ask whether they know that one.

Something else I always do is have my little phrase book with me at all times for the country I'm visiting. If I need to ask a question, I look it up. Some people who do know some English won't let on they do because they believe English speakers should make more of an effort to learn their language, or because they lack confidence in their own English skills. If they see you struggling to try to speak their language, they may take pity and help you out.


Good luck!
J
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
tjpnz2000



Joined: 22 May 2003
Posts: 118
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good advice all round, my additions would be;

1) Focus on the task and not your inability in the native language. If you want something to eat the goal is to get something to eat not construct a perfect sentence.

2) Retain your sense of humour and your cool, frustration gets you no where. 9 times out of 10 people are trying help you they are not refusing to speak English for a laugh. Getting angry at them for not speaking the same language as you solves nothing.

3) Remember you are in thier country and nobody gets in trouble for being to polite.

Denise,

You wrote:
Quote:
I wince every time I hear native speakers rambling on, assuming that everyone will understand them.


Native speakers of English or Japanese? Laughing I agree with you if you are talking about English speakers but we are not the only ones.

T
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Celeste



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 814
Location: Fukuoka City, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Do you feel isolated?


I felt really isolated when I worked in Korea. I don't feel isolated at all here in Japan. There are many reasons for this. People in Japan are more polite to me. I am older now. The city I am in is fairly international, so I am not treated as such an alien.


Quote:
How do you manage day to day activities with the non English speaking community?

It's not so bad. WHen I first came here I didn't know any Japanese, so I took a crummy little phrasebook with me every time I needed to do something. Then I would study the phrasebook intensely on the bus or subway en route to the errand. After a while, I just stopped bringing it with me. I had been taking language classes once a week, but I can't remember exactly when it was that I stopped bringing that phrasebook everywhere with me.

Quote:
One other question. Is there a demand for TESL specializing in medical or nursing?

Here in Japan, I am tutoring a nurse who has found that a large number of foriegners have started coming to her clinic. When I taught in Korea, I did a couple of seminars for firefighters and paramedics because foriegn residents had started having emergencies there.

Quote:
If so, where would I begin to search for this kind of job?


Well, I got the Korean gig because I lived NEXT DOOR to the fire station (I love teacher housing!) and they had seen me passing every day so they contacted the principal of my school and asked if they could borrow me for a couple of days. The nurse I teach now is the friend of a friend. I would suggest that you offer your tutoring services around once you get to your destination country. Most tutoring is arranged through contacts and introductions, so you'll have to network pretty hard when you get to where you are going.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Solight



Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Posts: 6
Location: Largo, Florida, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:27 am    Post subject: Communication - Socialization Reply with quote

Thank you all for your input thus far. I really enjoy hearing from you and knowing we are communicating from all over the world. WOW!

I am a person that needs to share daily with a friend and I usually do this at home by phone or in person. This socialization is a very important part of my persona and I am getting the feeling it would be abscent.

I attended an emersion language class in Nicaragua recently, lived with a Spanish family and it was a great experience. But, I really missed deeper conversations with friends.

The Peace Corp often sends groups to a location and I was kind of hoping that would be the same in TESL or even a couple of like-speaking individuals.

How about Teacher-Housing? Are there other TESL's living there or are you it?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PanamaTeacher



Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 278
Location: Panama

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I teach mostly private classes and it is a little lonesome, since so few people do what I do and because I work round-the-clock 7 days a week. My best friends here have been some of my students, but I don't have much contact with other teachers. I don't know how it is for others.

As for mixing with people from here, it isn't hard if you speak the language even a little. Lots of people want you as a friend just to practice english. At first I liked it because people invite you to dinner or the beach, etc. But after a while socializing is almost a job, and you want to speak english with a person that you don't have to explain anything to. Still, I got my apartment from a friend (student), my car financed by a friend (student) and I get all my business from referrals from past students or parents who are still friends.

I hope this helps, Good Luck Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Solight



Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Posts: 6
Location: Largo, Florida, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Panama Teacher,

Thanks for your candid reply. I suspect a lot of everyones socialization in English is through cyberspace. I will have to come to terms with this before the time to make the move arrives. I guess that is why I am studying Spanish. I do want to, no, I NEED to talk to people more than just como esta usted...

This may be a foolish question but do you have any airconditioning at school or home? We did not in Estoli, Nicaragua. It was OK but it sure was nice to cool off at the mall or up in the mountains occasionally.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PanamaTeacher



Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 278
Location: Panama

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i run my air 24/7 costs $200 a month in electricity in a very small 1-bedroom. all nice places/schools in panama have mucho a/c
kids carry sweaters to school
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am in China, have been here several years and am going to stay put for some more.
Initially, I felt communication was not a big issue. Everything basic was being taken care of. You don't even have to blurt out "I am hungry!" - either it was mealtime anyway, or people would ask you 'have you had lunch yet'?
Over time, however, I began noticing that a lot of miscjommunication occurs routinely here. Most TEFLers notice some problems when they have to discuss certain work-related issues with their colleagues or superiors. You get the impression your observations catch them off guard, and they can't be bothered to listen to you for a long time, or if you have to repeat complaints. Gradually you realise that you have to function in a narrowly-defined and perceived manner, not in a professional or personal way. You fulfill a role rather than a job. You suddenly know you are not teaching - but being taught lessons! You may think you are teaching them English, but they want to teach you how to view them and their society.

Many feel they have been taken for a ride - which may or may not have been the case!

Even in mundane things not to do with school you cannot fail to notice that you often get ignored. Can you invite a Chinese to dinner? A lot more difficult than the other way around! You may simply want to reciprocate their hospitality - they will possibly turn it down most vehemently. They ask you intimidating questions, but they also make it plain enough which types of questions you cannot ask them. Often they feel they can ask you things which they won't allow you to ask them.
It is not much better if you speak their language. To ignore a person is quite normal in Chinese society, more so if the person asking questions is an outsider.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Solight



Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Posts: 6
Location: Largo, Florida, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roger, this sounds very difficult to me. Yet, if you have been there four years and intend on more years the good must offset the difficult. I commend you.

The more I hear from you "all" the more convinced I am to stick to Spanish!

Thanks for your insight. I bet you have helped some others too.

Solight
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Newbie Forum All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC