Everyone has cultures that they belong to. Culture is learned, shared symbols, language, values, and norms that distinguish one group of people from another. Personally, I belong to several different cultures; I am a Soldier, an American, and a male. The culture that contributes most significantly to my identity is being a Soldier. While serving in the military, I have experienced many different cultures; whether it was at basic combat training, advanced individual training, or deployments.
Out of all of the different cultures I have encountered, the biggest culture shock I experienced was with the middle eastern cultures. When dealing with the Afghani culture I tended to respond with impatience. They tended to not value punctuality, and would respond with comments such as InshaAllah, “god willing,” whenever you tried to set up times for meetings. Being placed into this culture created problems with language barriers. To assist with this issue, we used interpreters to break that barrier.
During the exchanges with the Afghani population, we were both sources and receivers during our interactions. With the help of our interpreters, we were able to create conversation to discuss necessary action. Our messages where encoded and decoded with the help of hand gestures, sand tables (visual aid for military tactics), and interpreters. By using these channels, our message for the importance of punctuality could be delivered.
With the channels being utilized the communication between our two cultures provided very little problems with the understanding of the message. During these conversations we had some noise, but it didnt get in the way of delivering the message. These conversations generally happened inside the Forward Operating Base (FOB). The meetings were outside in temps of 120 degrees with sounds from generators, helicopters, trucks, gunfire from the range, and the occasional outgoing round from the artillery guys,