Cultural Competence in Berlin

Authored By:

Racheal A.

First, I would like to thank CIEE for inviting the Bison STEM Scholars Program. This has been an amazing 2 weeks and an adventure that I will not forget.

Our class discussion that revolved around “Cultural Competence: It All Starts at the Front Desk,” helped me to shift my understanding of the relationship between culture, communication, and Global Public Health. Before having this discussion, I was never really aware of how easy it is to be biased in the workplace (especially in health-related institutions). During this time, I reflected on my time working at Marshalls. When working as a cashier it was easy to assume things about people’s lives. If someone’s card declined I assumed they were broke. However, they may have money in their account that needs to be transferred from savings to checking or their card may not be working. It’s like this in the healthcare system. Like our scenarios, it is easy to assume someone may need a certain treatment because of their ethnicity or they are on a specific insurance plan because of their skin color.

This discussion helped me to understand the importance of cultural competence in all settings. Having cultural competence will allow me to give all individuals the specific attention they deserve. Having cultural competence is also the fairest thing to do. It is completely unfair for me to assume something about people I know nothing about (especially since I would hate for that to happen to me). I also learned a few tips on how to remain culturally competent:

1. Explore other culture’s beliefs and values.

2. Remove bias from my mind when meeting someone for the first time.

3. Evaluate how culturally sensitive I am. Use this evaluation to change my actions (both positive and negative) accordingly.