Mark Giorgini’s student Varian CAHYADI is a fulltime student in the international MBA program at Lingnan (University) College, Sun Yat-sen University, in Guangzhou, China.
By Varian CAHYADI
For a company that chooses to go global, understanding other countries’ culture is essential to the success of its operation and establishment. There are so many unique cultures throughout the world, often so unique that many people quickly get caught in what we usually call “culture shock.” Sometimes culture shock can be so intense that it can affect the performance of a person or even a company as a whole. It is obvious that we should avoid this problem if we want to progress overseas, especially in a country as unique as my country, Indonesia.
As the world’s largest archipelago with more than 18,000 islands, Indonesia has been acknowledged as the “Sleeping Giant” of South-East Asia. In my past experience studying and working abroad, I often find myself puzzled by questions directed to me about my country. This made me conclude that although Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago (covering quite a visible area on the map!) a lot of people still find themselves wondering where exactly Indonesia is. After a bit of explanation, statements such as “Never heard of it” and “Really?” or even “Indonesia is in Bali?” often were present. That is why in this article I’m going to talk a bit about Indonesia.
is a country with great diversity. There are more than 700 ethnic groups currently living in Indonesia, each with their own unique culture, language and way of life. In our country, other than background, religion also plays a very important role in shaping people’s lives. We acknowledge 5 different kinds of religion which are Moslem, Catholics, Protestant, Hindu and Buddha. Understanding that different people with different backgrounds will behave significantly differently from others around them, avoiding stereotyping, and promoting respect toward others are essential in order to maintain harmony in our relationships.
Knowing different ethnic groups’ language and their way of life or even knowing about their religious beliefs will really benefit foreigners in dealing with Indonesian people. For example, Indonesians who are Moslem have their long Friday prayers every week, and a company that employs Indonesian Moslems must allocate time for those people to realize this duty. Another example would be if someone speaks to you loudly, that doesn’t always mean they are scolding you; depending on their background sometimes it is how they usually speak to a friend.
Also, Indonesians would not tolerate it if they are being criticized in public, something considered as intentionally making fun of them. Generally, Indonesians are mostly considerate to one another, so taking into account other people’s feelings when trying to do something is very important in order to avoid conflicts.
Perception and how people look at you might determine how well you do here. Whoever you might be or whatever you might do, if you are able to get around well and could give great impression to people while maintaining good relation with others will really help you progress in a long run.