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Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic
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Group 4: Improve Communication Between Cultures: Czech Republic

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Final draft of Group four's intercultural communication project.

Final draft of Group four's intercultural communication project.

Published in: Education, Travel, News & Politics
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  • 1. Republic Cultural Presentation Group 4: Eugene Mullens Jr - Holidays and Traditions Sue Medlin - Governmental Philosophy and History William Middlebrook - Government and Law Mayya Kupchenko - Religion, Marriage, and Gender Roles Zack Paukert - Etiquette Welcome to the Czech Republic, a society not unlike our own but containing enough differences to send the average traveler into culture shock. Like most cultures around the world, the Czech Republic has distinct differences in world views, politics, food, literature, and history that make this country unique. When studying the cultural practices of countries different from our own, it is extremely important that we take a culturally relative approach when observing how they live their lives. Whether we are conscious of our bias or not, we all are subject to ethnocentrism “the belief that one’s own cultural traditions and assumptions are superior to those of others (Beebe, Beebe, & Ivy, 2010). We challenge you as a viewer of this presentation to put aside any ethnocentrism, so you can fully comprehend the rich culture of the Czech Republic.
  • 2. Czech Holidays & Traditions By: Eugene Mullens Jr Holidays are times to spend with family and friends celebrating holy days or commemorating events of importance. Many traditions are built around these days. These traditions vary from culture to culture, but can be similar as well. Communication relating to these days ranges from special greetings, to practices such as lighting candles or decorating trees. Understanding similarities as well as differences between cultures is key to improved communication.
  • 3. Hromnice (pronounced HROM-nyi-tseh) falls on February 2nd, the same day as America’s Groundhog Day is celebrated. Both holidays are based on the same ancient Celtic tradition. The Czech word Hromnice (hrom = thunder) is derived from sanctified "hromnice" candles that are lit on the night of February 2nd if there is a thunderstorm ("Czech holidays and," ). Weather is believed to signal the duration of winter and the coming of spring. This is similar to the American tradition focusing on the groundhog’s shadow. By taking the time to understand how other cultures observe holidays, we may discover that they are more similar than different to our own. In some cases, the origins of many cultural practices could actually have the same genesis. HromniceFebru ary 2nd
  • 4. In America we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The Czech St. Joseph's Day is a holiday comparable to that. It is celebrated every year on March 19th. St. Joseph's Day is a feast day for Joseph, the husband of the Virgin Mary ("Czech holidays and," ). Historically, Josef is one of the most common and popular Czech first male names. The village of Josefovice used to have at least one Josef living in every one of its houses. Today, around 266,000 Czech men are still named Josef ("Czech holidays and," ). The Josef name day is still celebrated across the nation and mentioned on the news every year. This holiday remains important to some people in the Czech Republic still and they realize its purpose. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by many in America, but most don’t understand it’s background. It’s helpful to know that some cultures appreciate their history. Acknowledging this will help improve intercultural communications because we can make a more educated St. Joseph's Day (Den Svatého Josefa) March 19
  • 5. Czech Christmas (Vánoce) December 24th-26th The Czech people celebrate the Christmas holiday over three days. For many, December 24 (Štědrý den) is the most enjoyable day of the three. Its Czech name literally means "Generous Day", probably for the wealth of food that has traditionally been served for Christmas dinner. The Christmas tree is decorated with traditional Czech Christmas ornaments in many households and preparations are made for the most festive dinner of the year ("Czech holidays and," ). In America, Christmas Eve is considered a festive day in anticipation of Christmas. The Czech Republic Christmas stretches over December 25 and 26, which are also referred to as the First and Second Christmas Holidays, or the Christmas Feast (Boží hod vánoční) and St. Stephen's Day (Sv. Štěpán). On St. Stephen's Day, children, students, teachers, and the poor used to go around people's homes singing Christmas carols. Nowadays, families stay at home and relax or visit relatives and friends to share the special time ("Czech holidays and," ). Most cultures celebrate the same holidays, with slight differences in how the holiday is practiced. If we recognize the commonalities between our cultures, we could better understand them. Considering perspectives of other cultures instead of brushing them off as inferior to our own, vastly improves our ability to communicate. America and the Czech Republic relations could be improved by simply taking the time to learn that we’re similar in some ways that both cultures value.
  • 6. Czech Republic Beroun, their small farming town Prague, their capital A young couple’s journey to escape communism and the Soviet invasion of August 1968. Sue Medlin, group 4, page 1 From Stalinist socialism to American democracy-
  • 7. 1948 saw the communist coup and the implementation of the Planned Economy.  Peter and Hana were children of kulaks; land owning farmers. The planned economy established collective farming (kolkhoz) on an industrial scale that resulted in the confiscation of land from the kulaks and the redistribution of wealth among the proletariat (Wikipedia 2010)  Stalinist socialism ruled their world  during their formative youth. The new constitution for the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic promised the right to work, leisure, health care, and education…  the reality was something altogether different for them and their friends.  Sue M, pg.2 Soviet propaganda poster “Comrade, come join our kolkhoz!”
  • 8. 1956: USSR eased Stalinism, but the communist Czech government retained it, abolishing all private enterprise using hired labor (Eurozine 8/2008) • Peter’s father had lost his farm and livelihood to the collective and he was forced into menial labor. He became a member of the writer’s underground, a movement of dissidents willing to protest this oppression at any cost. • The Writer’s Rebellion in April of that year was suppressed by the communists but not destroyed. 1965 saw political reforms but the communists pushed back hard in 1967. • Sue M. pg. 3
  • 9. 1968: Political turmoil caused a massive Soviet response with several Warsaw Pact armies invading the Republic. Many dissidents were killed or sent to Siberian prison camps.  Peter and Hana were wed among this chaos and were urged by his father to flee to the west. They took what little they could and motorcycled cross- country to a mountain pass where they hiked into Austria, and eventually made their way to America. Forty-thousand others emigrated that year to America and Canada (Wkipedia, 2010).  Hana stands by the border crossing  near where they had escaped over forty years ago.  Peter’s father was killed during the ensuing violence against the writers. One of them, Vaclav Havel, was to become the president of his new country during the Velvet Revolution in 1989. This marked the end of the country called Czechslovakia and established Slovakia and the Czech Republic.  A visit to the grave of Peter’s father.  Sue M. pg.4
  • 10. Peter and Hana Medlin are my parents, but I don’t understand their politics…could it be that-  Under Communism:  They didn’t trust the messenger, so the message itself must be suspect.  Stalinist socialism hurt them and their families deeply.  Any talk of redistributing wealth meant the loss of their farm and livelihood.  The communists were “leftists” and their state-run media controlled all information.  Planned Economy meant state control of industry, finance, healthcare, work conditions.  Being “other oriented” (Beebe, 2010, ch.6, pg.164) is the key for me to understand my parents’ reality filter. They are a product of their environment and experience-as are we all-and have a hard time separating fact from fiction.  Under American Democracy:  The messenger is suspect because the message sounds the same as with communism, i.e. Right to work, healthcare, education?  President Obama has been labeled a socialist by the cable talking heads, so is he a commie?  Eliminating tax cuts for the wealthy is redistributing wealth to the middle class?  The political right has labeled the American media “liberal or leftist”, so it’s better to trust the right-wing whackjobs?  Government Stimulus Plan mirrored these controls, but for a different reason and a different end. Is this attempt at saving our economy to be equated with Stalinism????  I will endeavor to use social decentering, empathy and patience when conversing with them on all subjects. I will try to help them understand that not all those in control are to be mistrusted.  Sue M. pg.5
  • 11. Comparison of the Governments of the U.S. and the Czech Republic Good Intercultural Communication cannot be achieved without understanding the culture you’re attempting to communicate with. By Bill Middlebrook
  • 12. One of the key principles of Intercultural communication is Adapting to Others. Developing Knowledge is the first step. US Government Czech Republic Government  Government Type. Federal Republic  Consisting of Executive Branch, Legislative Branch and Judicial Branch  Major Political parties-3  Legal System-Federal Court system based on English Common Law  Government Type. Parliamentary Democracy  Consisting of Executive Branch, Legislative Branch and Judicial Branch  Major Political parties- 11  Legal System-Civil Law system based on Austro-Hungarian codes
  • 13. The US and Czech governments are very similar, the legal systems though different have common roots in both of our European pasts. At first glance one would think that communicating with this culture would be simple and straightforward. This is not necessarily true, one of the barriers to bridging differences discussed in the text was “assuming similarities” and this is a classic example. One of the main communication barriers found during our research was that although both countries have vibrant, active political parties, these parties are worlds apart. What the Czech people call their right wing, or conservatives, we here in the US would call a Democrat, or Liberal. They have no party to compare to the US Republicans. The American right wing doctrine is unknown in Czech politics. They also have an active Communist party, who ruled the country for many decades before the new constitution was ratified.
  • 14. Avoid ethnocentrism when communicating about politics  The Czech people are very proud of the new country and government they have created. Practicing Other- oriented communication, where we take into account the others needs and motives can help us overcome our ethnocentric feeling about our own political system and allow us to bridge our differences. We have a great political system and it’s very easy to become ethnocentric when discussing it. When discussing politics with them keep in mind that when we talk about the founding fathers they are long gone. The founding fathers of the Czech republic are alive and well.
  • 15. Religion, Marriage, and Gender Role Of the Czech Republic by: Mayya Kupchenko
  • 16. Religion Beliefs  Precise numbers of the members of various denominations are not available; approximate percentages are Roman Catholics, 40 percent; Protestants, 4 to 5 percent; Orthodox, 1 percent; and uncommitted, atheists, and agnostics, 54 percent. Many Czech Catholics tend to be lukewarm in their faith. Moravian Catholics are more committed. Religious sentiments have always been more strongly felt and expressed in rural areas. Since the end of World War I, strong secularist tendencies have been evident.
  • 17. Family and Marriage For much of the twentieth century, the selection of a spouse has rested with the young couple. Before World War II, socioeconomic standing and education were of considerable importance in the selection of a husband or wife. Middle- class men usually did not marry until they were launched in their careers, typically in their late twenties or early thirties; women usually married in their early or middle twenties. More recently, men have begun to marry earlier. There are no legal restrictions on who can marry except for marriages between close relatives. The number of legal marriages in 1996 was 5.2 per 1,000. This number is low because the percentage of young adults in the age range 15–29 is among the lowest in the world
  • 18. Kin Groups  For urban Czechs, the effective kin group is limited to the closest relatives. For most people, collateral relatives more distant than uncles, aunts, and first cousins are seen only on special occasions such as weddings and funerals. However, most villagers, especially in Moravia, continue to maintain relations with more distant relatives. Descent is bilateral, that is, through both the mother's and the father's lines, but the husband's surname becomes the family name.
  • 19. Gender Role  Women have made significant strides since World War II in terms of employment opportunities and participation in public life. However, a disproportionate number of women are in the lower half of the pay scale. Women remain concentrated in the traditional sectors of female employment: retail sales, health care, elementary schools, and social work. While the concept of equality between men and women is recognized, the husbands of women who are fully employed seldom perform half the household duties. Because a number of the mechanical conveniences taken for granted in the West are not widely affordable, most women work harder at home than American women do. However, women have a large say in how money is spent and how the family uses its free time and are becoming increasingly active in political life, business (banks and insurance companies), and civil service (post offices).
  • 20. Visiting the Czech Republic Understanding etiquette through Intercultural communication competence
  • 21. The Importance of understanding  When visiting any country, just like being a visitor in a guests home, you must show respect to be taken in and accepted by the group. Without showing appreciation and sensitivity towards a persons culture you will not be able to communicate successfully. By having an ethnorelative cultural perspective you are able to experience the culture, co-culture and worldviews of the people you encounter, thus increasing your ability to communicate with them.
  • 22. Simple interactions Meeting and Greeting  Initial Greetings are formal  Involve handshake, direct eye contact  Never use first name until invited to do so (these are signs of friendship.)  Moving to informal without an invitation is considered an insult or attempt at humiliation. Business meetings  Appointments are mandatory and made in advance.  Never on Friday afternoon, many Czechs leave to their cottages for lunch.  Punctuality is taken seriously.  Maintain direct eye contact while talking. Whether you are visiting on a business trip or simply for pleasure, respecting ones cultural differences is the best way to achieve successful communication in any interaction you may encounter.
  • 23. Dining etiquette  Dining across all cultures holds a high value in the minds of people. Across cultures it is a chance to bring loved ones together to share in the fruits of their labor and is an opportunity to socialize. Each culture has its own values and traditions associated with dining, one must practice a relativistic approach when encountering dining practices different from their own. While visiting a Czechs Home  Arrive on time  Remove shoes  Dress modestly and well  Never discuss business as Czechs separate personal lives with that of work  Remain Standing until invited to sit down  Do not begin eating until hostess starts  Always refuse second helpings the first time offered, wait until hostess insists.  Compliment the meal while eating, this offers a chance for hostess to discuss the food and preparation
  • 24. General Etiquette  As with our own culture, we have certain expectations about behavior in public settings. These are some concepts of Czech culture to be aware of when interacting within their society.  Rudeness: It is custom to maintain distance from people you don’t know very well. Once you get to know someone, they open up.  Watch Your Volume: Czechs tend to speak quietly in public areas and are annoyed by loud foreigners.  Nudity: Nudity around swimming pools and beaches is acceptable.  Public Urination: Is generally frowned upon however is not uncommon among men.
  • 25. How Can We Communicate Better? Ethnocentrism is “the belief that one’s own cultural traditions and assumptions are superior to those of others” (Beebe, Beebe, & Ivy, 2010). Ethnocentrism may be part of our way of thinking whether we know it or not. It's possible that on a subliminal level we have grown to believe our own culture is superior to other cultures. This could be manifested in many ways including the belief that our holidays and traditions are "better" than all others. That maybe our customs and practices are the best way and all others are just weird and inferior. It is crucial though, that we eradicate this way of thinking and open our minds up to other cultures ways, if we want to improve communications with them. In order to do so we must try and better understand their practices. We may then find less of a contrast between our cultural similarities and differences. That change in mindset can open us up to greater communication. This process begins after first removing the "ethnocentric veil" on a conscious level, because our cultures are more alike than we think.
  • 26. References•Hana Medlin, in-person interview, November 2010 All photos courtesy of Hana and Peter Medlin. October 2006 visit to Czech • Abraham, A (2008) Writers Rebellion. Eurozine. Retrieved from http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2008-08-21-abraham-en.html Richard F.(1982). ed. Czechoslovakia: A Country Study • Agnew, H.L. (1994). Origins of the czech national renascence. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. • Baranik, Laura. (2006, June 11.) Sticking to the Rules: A guide to cultural etiquette in the Czech Republic. Retrieved November 7th, 2010, from http://www.expats.cz/prague/article/czech- culture/sticking-to-the-rules/ • Beebe, Steven, Beebe, Susan J., & Ivy, Diana K. (2010). Communication: principles for a lifetime. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing. • Bradley, J.F. (1972). Lidice: sacrificial village. New York: Ballantine Books. • Czech holidays and traditions. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.myczechrepublic.com/czech_culture/czech_holidays/ • Czech republic flag. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://wwp.greenwich-mean-time.ca/time-zone/europe/european-union/czech-republic/flag.htm • Emigration From Czechoslovakia (n.d.) Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadians_of_Czech_ethnicity • Hermann, H.A. (1975). A history of the czechs. London: Allen Lane. • Molinari,Christine.(2010).Countries and their cultures.Retrieved from http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Bu-Dr/Czech-Americans.html • Neuroscience abroad. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://global.tulane.edu/studyabroad/programs/images/map_of_czech_republic.gif> • NyropCollective Farming (n.d.) Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_farming • U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. (2010). The World Factbook. Retrieved October 29th,2010 from https//www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook.
  • 27. Open Ended Questions • The Czech Republic does not have a political party similar to America’s conservative Republican Party. How could you approach a discussion about this part of their culture in a non-offensive way? • How is a better understanding of Czech holidays beneficial towards improved communication? • How do the differences in our respective culture’s family values impact intercultural communication? • How does etiquette between America and the Czech Republic differ? • How did the change in government philosophy of the Czech Republic alter their relationship with America?

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