Like many other students, I took this module in NUS because of various reasons like learning how to write resumes and proposals and efficiently communicating with people across all levels.However, the main reason why I have decided to invest 500 bidding points for this module is to learn more intercultural communication. Also, I want to learn how I could also use my knowledge of foreign languages and music to convey messages across different cultural groups effectively.
A Love for Language
I have had this romantic affair with languages ever since I started travelling around the globe.I believe that language is a key to unlock the mysteries embedded in each culture.When you learn a foreign language, you not only know how to speak, read and write with it, you would also learn about the culture with greater understanding.And when you have mastered the language, the walls between people would crumble, thus allowing you to gain access to their way of life and culture.This is what I call,”travelling with the intention to unravel what lies beneath it.”
How to Break the Ice
Speaking to someone of the same tongue is quite fascinating to me.I never thought that one day I could start a conversation with my cousins’ Filipino maids with few basic Tagalog greetings.I never thought that one day I could strike up conversations with taxi drivers in Vietnam. I never knew that I could understand a French man who was trying to tell me about Napoleon Bonaparte at Arc de Triomphe. Speaking in a common language has somehow drawn about a closer connection between people.Putting the effort to learn someone’s language is akin to be saying ” I want to know you better”. Try saying,” Maganda Umaga” to the filipinos or ” Chào bạn.Bạn có khỏe không?” to the Vietnamese, you will see that glint in their eyes and the smiles which radiate from their hearts.
Communicating with Sensitivity
Learning a new language is like acquiring a new tool but if one do not know how to use it to communicate effectively, the wall which divides people is never going to fall apart. For one to knock down that barrier ultimately, it is necessary to speak and write in a way which people could comprehend.For instance, I have been learning Vietnamese in school for quite some time. As I begin to advance to higher levels, I realise that it is indeed time for me to pick up communication skills which would enable me to express myself more efficiently.
It is also quite common for us students to use certain sensitive or inappropriate words callously which could unintentionally hurt the feelings of others. We often tend to generalise and see things in a collective manner which very often leads to a form of stereotyping. Thus, we should also learn how to write appropriately, thoughtfully and effortlessly so that any unintended messages are omitted.
Besides languages, I am also relentlessly in love with singing. Singing is a form of self-expression to me.The stage with dazzling bright lights is a platform for anyone to tell a story.When I am drunk with love, I sing “Will you still love me tomorrow” by Amy Winehouse.When I am in the blues, I sing “Wei Zhi” by Alin(Taiwanese Singer).
People cry, laugh and dance to express their emotions and inner self but all I can do is to sing. Everyone can sing. But it is not easy when you have to communicate with the audience with the variations in the tone of your voice, diction, facial expressions and stage presence. Moreover, you have to deliver the essence of the song within 3 minutes. And I was wondering could singers like Susan Boyle and Leona Lewis have taken effective communication courses at some point in their lives?
How are they able to render their souls and reach out to the crowd? I would also like to do a kowtow to musicians like Yiruma (Korean pianist) who beautifully string notes together to form a melody which melts the hearts of many people.
I am just, me.
In fact, effective communication is not just about languages or music. In the pragmatic point of view, it would also help me to communicate professionally with my boss and colleagues when I enter the career world. Personally, I truly believe that communicating effectively is something which I have to learn about because I have few working experiences in the society as compared to other students. I have fewer leadership experiences as compared to other student leaders who seemed to be juggling well with both school work and their leadership duties.
A Little Voice in Me
And my name does not appear miraculously on the Dean’s list or those banners or billboards in school. I also do not have colours flying past my exam results script, unlike others which have results slips that seem to be glowing. Neither do I have resume or CV which one could unroll it like a scroll with the list of awards and outstanding testimonies written all over. I have none of that. But one thing for sure which I do know is that I have my brain and a still little voice inside me. I could convince people that I may not possess a scroll of achievements right now, but I will have one, in the future.
Taking this module is just one small step towards it.
“Chào Bạn. Bạn có khỏe không?” means “Hello friend.How are you?”