Communicating Across Cultures during Covid19

By 29th June 2020 August 13th, 2020 Updates

Communicating Across Cultures during Covid19:
Online training: Monday 18 May

Since the outbreak of Covid19, the way that churches have been able to support and communicate with refugees has changed dramatically. Welcome Churches provided some online training to discuss this in May 2020. Here are some of the highlights from the training:

It is really important to try to understand the cultural differences that a refugee will have to your own culture, and how this will affect your communication with them. The biggest challenge of communication is to ask “did communication actually take place?”

Culture is:

  • the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes one group of people from another;
  • our mental map of the world through which we understand the world;
  • just the way we do things.

How does culture affect our refugee Neighbours’ experience of Covid-19?

  • Loss of community: Refugees are often from cultures where relationships and community are highly-valued. It can be very isolating not to see people outside of your household.
  • Asking for help: It is challenging during Covid19 to know if someone needs any help and to understand how they may or may not be comfortable to ask for help.
  • Understanding the government’s advice: Understanding the government’s advice when English is not your first language can be difficult. Many refugees may not understand what they can and can’t do within the guidelines. They may also be fearful of the consequences of breaking the rules- particularly if they are from a country where the authorities are feared.
  • Lack of freedom: We have all struggled with the lack of freedom since the lockdown in March. For some refugees, this may have come as a relief as they don’t need to worry about integration as much. For others they will have become very isolated and worried about their futures.

How can our churches help?

Think about how you can make it easier for someone to receive a gift or help from you. Here are a few examples:

  • “I was shopping anyway, and got a few extra things for you.”
  • Buying a SIM card or phone data “because WE really want to see you and we need you in the group.”
  • A group gift: giving a gift from the group/from the church not from an individual can help someone not to feel indebted to you.

Phone calls are valued very highly. Even if you can’t understand each other very well it shows the person that you have thought of them. Many will think things such as: “My British friend called me! I actually have a British friend! I have real friends who care for me”.

Want to join in with Welcome Churches’ online training in the future? Click here more details

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