London is a multicultural city and chances are your flatmates will be from anywhere but London. Living in a multicultural flatshare is the best way to learn about new cultures and for the most part it is great. However, there can be some cultural differences that are more difficult to get used to and unfortunately those differences can sometimes lead to cultural clashes.
In hopes to avoid as much of that as possible we have summarized a few tips on how to understand and handle these differences in culture.
First of all, what is a cultural clash? Cultural clash can be described as tension between people in response to one or both feeling threatened by what the other believes, his values or his practices. This can be based on a person’s ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, age and/or gender. Basically it is the tension that arises from a difference in perspective, action or thought between two people.
So what can we do to minimize this tension in a houseshare? Here are a few tips!
Realize that everyone is different. Some people are meaner, wiser, or nicer than others. Some might not agree with your way of doing things and vice versa, but that shouldn’t change how you treat people: fairly and kindly. Try to be open minded enough to understand other people’s actions or beliefs, it doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them, just simply understand and respect that you have different opinions or ways.
Observe and Learn
Talk to your flatmate about his or her culture, where certain things come from, why they might do things differently to you. You’d be surprised at how much you can learn from spending time with someone from another culture and if you go into it with an open mind it is usually super interesting, educational and rewarding.
Embrace and Engage
Ask your flatmate to include you in some of the activities that makes his or her culture different. Maybe they can cook you a meal that is traditional in their culture and you can do the same for them? This can give you a taste or feeling for your flatmates culture which in turn can make you more understanding and also minimize the risk of a cultural clash in the house.
Understand that we are all human, and we all have our own opinions, habits and ways of life. Try to be accommodating and accepting of your flatmate’s culture and hopefully he or she will repay you the favour.
To finish off, be proud of your own culture, but also smile and admire other ways of life as examples of the diversity of the nations and regions that makes the world what it is.
Happy multi-cultural flatsharing