One culture. Indian culture, according to the film,

One of the intercultural competencies we’ve discussed in my
Intercultural Communication and Social Media class is what is known as cultural sensory perception (click on hyperlink for brief explanatory article). Before adventures
abroad commenced, the only cross-cultural experience I had were the
seldom  encounters in my hometown with those of a different national or
ethnic identity. Yet it was not until I began living in London and
traveling Europe that I not only was immersed in a culture other than my
own, but needed to fully utilize my senses to recognize both the verbal
and non-verbal cues of another culture, as Dr. Gibson’s definition
of the term states. This past week in class a few students and I paired
up for a film project – to watch a film that depicted cultural
differences and use the skills we have attained in class to not only
recognize these differences, but to analyze and understand them as well.
Watching The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel as the filmmakers compared and contrasted (although not explicitly) the cultural differences between Brit’s and Indians.
While before watching this film I had a general and basic knowledge
of the Indian culture, what I did lack was the understanding of the
interpersonal cues of communication in the culture and thus, how they
contrast to my own culture. Indian culture, according to the film, is
extremely feminine – nurturing, touchy, caring, and feelings-driven, as
well as collectivist. This resulted in very personal verbal
communication as well as non-verbal communication. Not only did the
Indian characters speak to a peer intimately and with their friends or
family always around, their gestures and non-verbal cues were the same –
personal, and in some ways (or to my American standards) lacking
personal space. On the other hand, the British culture as depicted in
the film was the opposite – masculine and individualistic. All of the
characters were focused on their own personal interests and were
extremely achievement  and goal oriented. Their communication, both
verbal and non-verbal, especially in contrast to the Indian culture,
could easily be seen and understood as rude, standoffish, and
While I found that the British culture was similar to American
culture in that sense, I did indeed have to pay special and more
difficult attention to the actions and communication styles and
rhetorics of the Indians. The British culture was familiar and similar
to my own whereas the Indian culture was quite opposite, thus requiring
more attention and focus on their actions in an attempt to understand
and recognize these actions (exercising my cultural sensory perception).
I did indeed have to watch the movie twice, as I found myself finding
and picking up on much more than I did the first time.
My biggest learning taken away from the project is to always have a
heightened cultural sensory perception when communicating and
interacting with others. While I was simply watching a movie, the film
primarily focused on the cultural communication and interactions between
the two cultures, enabling me to observe this from an outsiders
perspective. From observing their interactions, and sensitivity with
their interactions, as well as with my own knowledge of cultural sensory
perception, I have full confidence that in future interactions with
those of different cultures I will successfully be able to utilize this
knowledge and my senses spot verbal and non-verbal cues which may differ
greatly from those of one’s own culture.