Communication Barrier with Eye Contact for other Cultures

Length: 5 Pages 1200 Words

Emigrating from India to the United States and adjusting to its environment, culture, and social norms has been an exciting learning experience for me. I was born and brought up in India where I spent the first 14 years of my life before I immigrated to America in July, 1998. For the past six years I have been learning and observing the American cultures, mainstream ideas, customs, beliefs, and norms. After every passing year I learn something new about the American culture and adapt to it. I remember the time when I was adapting to looking people in the eye and trying my best to maintain proper eye contact with another person. It was an awkward learning experience. Human beings in general use eye contact as a non-verbal tool of communication, but the way people use eye contact changes from place to place because of differences in environment, customs, and traditions. Growing up in an Asian Indian culture, I know that all Indians prefer minimal eye contact. It’s considered rude in my culture to look other people directly in the eye, especially adults. In India, a lot of importance is given to politeness, obedience, and respect towards adults. Anyone older than you should be looked up to or respected. For example: when I am hav Continue...

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Before starting a conversation minimal eye contact is required. This was a culture barrier that I had to overcome and I am proud that I have overcome it. So, after I have made minimal eye contact (1 to 3 seconds) with the professor, it's an Indian tradition to look the person we are speaking to right below their eye level. Anyways, I went about my merry teenage life thinking that I knew it all. Pitts, after class she said to me "Sam, you need make eye contact with me while carrying out a conversation. I started becoming confident and I didn't feel as bad for making eye contact with adults anymore. American people are definitely more comfortable and open with using eye contact than Indians. I finished my high school education here and became fluent in the English language. At fist I would glance at her eye for a second or two, make eye contact, and then shun away. Pitts thought it was beneficial for me to pick up as may American social norms as I could. I tilted my head a little to the left while looking up a little more higher; I said "Really Mrs. Up until that point I had not noticed that Americans prefer a moderate amount of eye contact.