Every culture has its own set of experiences, traditions and manners of dress that are considered the norm. These may not be the same as those in your own culture, but neither are they any worse. Traditions develop over the course of the area’s history. As more is learned about the history, a better grasp on why certain social norms exist can be grasped. While you may see a strange, backward land, the country’s people probably view you the same way! Embracing the differences, developing cultural awareness and learning not to judge others can help the new expatriate to fit into this new world.
Thanks to Mike Flanagan for this great cartoon!
Great tips and advice to appreciate your self .Marc and Angel Hack Life – Practical Tips for Productive Living.
It is important to observe and recognize your strengths and not focusing only on your weaknesses. You are perfect as a unique individual.
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Great initiative from a new friend living in Taipei! Let Your Day Be Part of “A Day in the World”.
Develop Emotional Intelligence
Part of the reconciliation process which leads to success is being capable of assessing and controlling the emotions of yourself and others. Learn how to read the mannerisms of the people around you to learn how they are feeling. Many cultures are often viewed as stoic and unfeeling. In actuality, this is far from the truth. Each society has its own way of expressing feelings. As you become more clued in to how these emotions are expressed, you will be better able to judge each situation at hand. Developing emotional intelligence is a vital tool for anyone in the global leadership. How you handle situations and control your own emotions will be a key determinant in how other people under your leadership treat you. Treat others with respect and esteem and the respect will be returned.
Involve your Partner or Spouse in the Process
After moving around the world, your partner or spouse is going to have to deal with many of the cultural awareness issues that you are facing. At every step of the process, get your partner involved. As your other half, they have a right to be just as prepared as you do. Partners should receive information on increasing cultural awareness and coaching about new cultural values. As fellow expatriates and global citizen, they need to be informed about the difficulties and challenges they will face. Partners form a vital part of an employee’s social support network. Being able to turn to them for help and trust them to come to your aid is a necessary part of adjusting to life abroad. Successful expats know this and trust their partners to form the backbone of the global leadership alongside them. Listen to your partner as you go through the process of becoming a part of the global citizenship.
Set Clear Expectations
Understanding the expectations out for you is the basis for being able to perform in any task. If you do not know what the job expects, it is exceptionally difficult to be able to perform it well. The first step for dealing with this problem is to request details about what exactly is expected of you. Clear outlines of what the mission and the job entail and the steps towards successfully completing it offer you the chance to know and fulfill your responsibilities.
Once the details of the mission are available, set about discovering what is locally available to help you in the assignment. Depending on the post, Internet access and other modern amenities may not be available. Learning how to work around these obstacles and thrive is of utmost importance in being able to perform any job and to adapt. People often make assumptions based on what was available in the United States.
When it comes to lifestyles abroad, these assumptions are just as dangerous. Although learning about your job’s demands is vitally important, being able to adjust your own expectation of life is even more significant. Life abroad will not be like it is at home. Although work life may be interesting and engaging, be prepared for your living situations to be different. In countries like Taiwan or Japan, expats can expect to live within smaller apartments and forego the use of ovens. This may not sound like a significant drawback, but it can compile over time with other incidents of culture shock.
Having clear expectations enables the expat and their family to easily meet and overcome challenges. With twenty-five to forty percent of international assignments being terminated early, expats need to be prepared for worst case scenarios and know how to meet their job requirements. Failing an assignment can affect your self-esteem and career detrimentally—as well as the image of applicants who follow you. Rise to the occasion and learn what is expected beforehand.
Expatriates have to undergo culture shock, the strains of moving, mental strain and a range of adjustments to life abroad. Over 200 million people currently live abroad and in the globalized labor force this number is continuously rising. Being able to adjust to the marketplace and the cultural norms of the country is the key to having a successful expatriation. 40% of leaders who go abroad fail at their overseas assignment—do not become one of them.
Within a year of returning to their home country, 1/5 former expatriates will leave their company. This can be due to a number of factors, but often it is due to the expatriate not being properly prepared by their company to life abroad. 4/5 of these new expatriates are not provided with any form of cultural awareness program by their organization. Even worse, 30% of expatriates express concern over not being able to adequately perform their task due to language barriers. What this amounts to is a cost of up to$250,000 for companies who have to deal with the negative impact of a failed assignment. These failed assignments result in both a negative impact for the expatriate, the organization and for other potential candidates.
As these fields grow—international assignments are expected to increase by 50% by the year 2020—companies need to find ways to properly train and prepare their employees for the strain of life abroad. Setting clear expectations, becoming open minded and planning ahead for difficulties are all a part of a proper integration program. New applicants should be prepared for the customs and cultural values of the area and learn not to judge it by their home country standards. Being abroad can be an eye-opening, rewarding experience as long as the expatriate can learn to accommodate for potential setbacks. Read More…
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
From presidential candidates to the average main street citizen, change is in the air. At some point, everyone wants to make a change. The people that surround us in our community like friends, relatives, coworkers and politicians are all talking about the miraculous effect of making a change. As nations and organizations strive towards changing their image and manner of operating, they need to keep the concepts of courage, commitment and self-mastery at the forefront of their minds. Without these skills, people can never take the first step towards a sustainable difference in how they live their lives. The first step is the most difficult one and distractions are in abundance, but these values can help individuals and corporations to stay the course and affect a dramatic difference in their lives. Understanding how courage, commitment and self-mastery transform the individual and bring about a change enables us to lead ourselves, our organization and even our nations to success. Read More