Like other conflicts you may encounter at University conflict across cultures can be positive or negative depending on how you approach and deal with the issues. Conflict across cultures can be especially complex as there are added difficulties such as interpreting cultural expectations, expressions, different use of spoken and body language to name a few challenges.

Here some students talk about a cultural conflict they have experienced at university:

When conflict is poorly managed it can be stressful for all involved. Some typical kinds of conflict situations across cultures include:

  • Language barriers
  • Feeling misunderstood
  • Conflict in group work
  • Feeling disrespected
  • Frustration due to miscommunication and misunderstandings
  • Different expectations at social situations or events
  • Dissimilar beliefs and cultural values
Dealing with a cultural conflict

Maria and Tim have been paired together to do a power point and oral presentation on a topic of their choice. Let’s take a look at what happens during their first interaction directly after the class.

Let’s follow Maria and take a closer look at what is going on for her after this initial conversation.