Because of this class, I have been more mindful of how I am communicating recently. Last week I was in the mall having a pedicure. The man giving me the pedicure was Asian although at first I didn't know exactly where he was from. His English was heavily accented and I found myself leaning in closer and listening more carefully to his words, trying to understand his meanings. I also noticed that I was very aware of his non verbal cues. There was a TV playing off to the side and the show International House Hunters was on. When the show began talking about houses in Vietnam his face lit up and he said something the the woman next to him in their home language. I asked him if he was from Vietnam. He said yes he was and spent the rest of the time telling me about his home country and how much he missed it. It was an interesting conversation and one I would not have had id I was not watching his non verbal cues.
I think when it comes to language barriers, I listen more closely and watch for non-verbal cues to help understand the conversation. When speaking with someone whose language is the same but cultural views are different, I am more mindful of the content of speech. I would never want to intentionally insult someone of hurt their feelings or discount their beliefs. In that I sometimes keep my own opinions and beliefs out of the conversation, depending on the relationship I have with the person.