Cultural Difference: Definition of communication

I forgot to read the memo or rather, some one forget to show me the memo; If planning to live in India, please come with your emotional shock absorber...because without shock absorber, the magnitude of the shock you experience here will be too much for you to handle.

Last time I checked, Communication is a two way thing and one of definitions of communication is Two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange (encode-decode) information but also create and share meaning.

So really, I find it dumb and annoying when my fellow Nigerian Interns sent me IMs on the office chat, that I was not communicating with the team. I thought it was only me they had issues with, but apparently they have same issue with my Lithuanian flatmate/team-mate.

I don't know how it is else where, but in the two companies that I worked in Nigeria...most of our relationship with colleagues are professional. I mean I do not share my personal business with you neither do I want to hear your personal business except we are cool...with exception to occasional compliments, you look gorgeous, I love your top, bla bla bla.

One thing about me is I am a very private I love minding my own business and do not go into people's business. I am one who people have wrong impressions of and most times I do not bother correcting the impression.

So yesterday, Dotun( fellow intern and Nigeria) called I and Kristina( Lithuanian flatie) that people are complaining that we do not interact with the team that we would rather talk to each other. Funny thing is even though Kristina and I live in the same flat, we hardly talk each other...At work, our seat is so far from each other, we purpose do not talk or seat close during lunch with the team, back at the flat, we stay put in our rooms....

My interaction so far with the team is I greet everyone every morning and most time decide not to answer you, I no vex for this one, neither have I stopped greeting like most people do. The whole team seat and eat lunch together...while they speak Hindi, Kristina and I stare ahead, me I just watch the news...if I need help with work, I meet them and ask questions.

We particularly roll and talk to chicks on the team and kind of relate with these two...and according to Dotun, talking to this two chicks do not count, and that i do not understand. The two chick who have issues, I cannot remember the last time they ever uttered none professional words with me. 

Because, like I told Dotun, I do not know them and I cannot just utter words that pop into my head to them. I am particularly cautious when dealing with ladies, because I know we get offended by the slightest utterance. These two chick actually most times do not answer when I greet...and from what I know when you greet people and they do not answer you, it only means one thing they do not like your gut...I still no vex oh, greet them everyday.

If you cannot respond when I greet, why should I now carry my head to discuss non-professional gist with you. I don't get it.

Kristina's issue with them, is the fact that they talk about her...crazy thing is they talk about you and open their stupid teeth to laugh with you. What thing they fail to realize is even though they speak in Hindu, we just know when they are talking about us because they would mention your name.

Thing is Indians are enclosed set of people, and we try to understand this or rather we are expected to understand the Indians and adapt to their way of life. They as people do not allow anything change their belief, they not open-minded, yet expect the world to accept and adapt to their way of life. 

The issue is not even that this people are talking to us and we refuse to answer them or snob them. They are not talking to us, I hate attending lunch with them, because they spend all the time speaking Hindi to themselves and forget we exist. Because of this, I put my earphone on and listen to music when there is nothing interesting to watch on TV during lunch. I have gotten more addicted to my phone and twitter since I got here...I just tweet away while they gist.

Yeah, as AIESEC interns, we are supposed to be change agents who live the AIESEC values...then again, I asked Dotun, who has been here for more than a year and leaves in two weeks what change he has been able to impact on this people.

I really don't know how else to communicate with them, abeg my people, let me know what I am missing, and how else I can communicate with this people because right now I am lost.

Molara Brown


  1. i think i know how u feel but i havnt been in india I tthink one step u should take is to listen more and to be more observant of d people around u....maybe u should try that :)

  2. Honestly, I think the way u roll is just cool, the office environment is one place where i'll never spill my personal story cos it could get messy

    Keep doing the needful (greet them when u get in and contact them on official matters) after a while they'll get used to ur style and if they dont, then its good riddance, afterall ur appraisal is not based on how much of ur private life makes the headlines.

  3. Lara dear! Been meaning to tweet u sef. lol what r u doing in India?

  4. pple will always complain abt everything and nothing.

  5. Try try try again to carry out a conversation with them. Tell them to recommend a shopping place cause you like their clothes or to recommend a bollywood movie. If the Internship is about melding cultures then you owe it to yourself to do more than greet. Maybe say namaste instead of hello :)

  6. u can never please everyone,
    of course try, go the extra mile,
    if it doesn't work, then just stick to what is right