Acknowledge from the outset that if you go abroad World_Hello_Day
there is a chance (or risk) that you might never return. If you eventually do go home you might experience that life has changed and it may never be like it was before.

I think the experience of working overseas allows you to see your own culture more clearly and put it into a larger context. It gets you away from local, immediate points of reference into more universal ones. You might be in the midst of explaining something about your home culture and all of a sudden it might strike you as a very odd custom because you are seeing it for the first time through the lens of your host culture. It affects who you are as a person, not just what you do!

Life may well feel more vivid, as if the sense of being alive is intensified. This is perhaps because you are having to pay attention to a lot of things you would normally take for granted in your home culture.

“Living life in technicolour, vividly ” is exactly why I love working cross-culturally. And I encourage people to be more open to that vividness, rather than just training them on “skills”.

Be mindful of the other culture; do not to go to the other country with any beliefs of superiority or inferiority. Be willing to learn. Suspend judgment. Instead of reacting negatively, ask WHY they are doing things that way?

The most important thing is to keep an open mind. This may sound banal, but it is not. When we keep an open mind, we also concomitantly accept that we are guests, and must do our best to identify, understand and, if possible, respect alternative, perhaps very different patterns of thinking and doing. Keeping an open mind does not mean we must tacitly accept all that we perceive. It does mean that we broaden our scope, that we learn about others (and ourselves), and, in some cases, adopt new behaviour patterns. When we keep an open mind, we let go to the power of inquiry, and we learn. Knowledge gained as such is unique, and, in the long run, extremely valuable.

Be ready to find out who you are, culturally, and to begin to understand where you are from. This is the first step to understanding where you are. 
This may sound trite, however living in a different cultural milieu brings out certain culturally influenced attitudes and behaviours that we don’t notice when we are “at home” because they fit into a norm.

Keep an open mind and develop a multi-perspective ability this will allow for the development of the necessary vision to develop your career and add value to any organisation. The experience of another culture is a boon for the international manager that adds immense value to the career and growth of the person so get ready to take their sight to the next level which can only happen with an open mind.

I would say foremost: develop and be mindful of the need to take in multiple perspectives before making decisions , making assumptions or taking actions in a multicultural environment.

Check out Edgar Schein’s definition of culture because it makes it clear that groups develop culture over a long period of time and that this is what helps them survive. Read more here.

For me, the most important part of any intercultural encounter is to go into it realising that a person’s or group’s culture meets certain needs for them (possibly consciously but in any case subconsciously) and therefore makes sense to them. “They” do things the way “they” do them because it works for “them”. If you want to get along with people from different cultures, you must work on that assumption and negotiate what might work for the two (or more) of you rather than imposing your ideas of what works. The disadvantages–lack of trust, de-motivation, and the absence of commitment–of not basing your actions on that assumption are otherwise too great.

In short :

  • Be enthusiastic, open and aware.
  • Do not assume anything and approach the new culture with respect; always to “ASK” if you don’t understand.
  • Keep a sense of humour and let down your guard go at times!
  • Be curious. Show you are really interested in finding out and understanding more about the other country/culture.
  • Expect the unexpected, and expect that the reasons behind the unexpected are different from any expectations you have ever had!

Watch this video to help you decode the mysteries of the complicated Indian head nods and bobs.

dice“A lot of people might find it strange,” says Paul Mathew. “But if you are born in India, as you grow up, it becomes a part of your character, your personality, that as you talk you tend to move your head in different ways.” Mathew, originally from south India but now working in the film industry in Mumbai, is the writer and director of Indian Headshakes – What Do They Mean? which has garnered more than a million views on YouTube since it was uploaded last week.

“If we had known that this video was going to get such awesome viewership we would have shot it better,” he says. Read more on the links… and in our latest book, The Diversity Dashboard here.

We’re all familiar with the British MPs’ expenses scandal, Japan-resigns
which shocked tax payers, revealing that duck houses were more important uses of our money than improvements to the NHS. Two of Japan’s ministers have stepped down today after it was revealed that they had taken advantage of the claims system. However, this is not merely a blow for the government, but for feminism and women’s rights in Japan.

One minister to resign was hotly tipped to be the country’s first female leader, which would have bolstered the feminist movement in Asia and promoted gender equality in a country slightly late to that party.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Muslim calendar ramadan-uk
and is considered especially holy for several reasons. Koran, the holy book, was first revealed to prophet Muhammed during the last ten days of this month.

According to the Koran, the gates of heaven are open, the gates of hell are closed, and the devils are chained up in hell during Ramadan. Since the devils are locked away, it’s easier to do good in this month, thus, dedicated Muslims are expected to donate to a charity or offer their time to help the poor, for example. Every year, the UK holds campaigns to promote safe ways of donating to charities in order to avoid scams and fake charities during Ramadan.

Most people know Ramadan best for the tradition of fasting. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars, or fundamental duties, of Islam. It is common to fast during the daylight hours, although there is sometimes confusion around the beginning and the end of each daily fast. For this year’s Ramadan, you can find an accurate time table for each UK city, here.

Invite a friend for coffee today and tell her how much you appreciate the time you spend together.

It’s the International Day of Friendship, a UN Friendship-Day
observance day that promotes the role friendship plays in promoting peace.

Friendship Day has been celebrated in many South American countries since the 50s, but it was proclaimed an international observance day in 2011 by the UN, with the idea that friendships help bridge communities and cross cultures. The UN resolution particularly emphasizes friendships between young people, our future leaders, and community activities that include different cultures.

A popular way to celebrate friendship is wearing friendship bracelets with your friend. In 1998, Nane Annan, the wife of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, named Winnie the Pooh the world’s Ambassador of Friendship. 

Over the next few weeks you will find that some of your colleagues
aren’t taking part in the usual water-cooler gossip sessions or have taken to declining offers of coffee. That’s because it’s Ramadan. Muslims are called by their religion to celebrate the month of Ramadan by coming together in worship, fasting each day for thirty days from dawn until sunset. While this may seem like a tremendous feat, consider this: Fasting while working is an even greater endeavour! So, how can we help our colleagues? Is there an etiquette to follow?

In an increasingly multi-cultural world, when it seems as though we are

undergoing a clash of cultures, it is important that we try to understand the belief systems and values of others, for understanding engenders tolerance and peace. Whether you live or work with Muslims and want to relate to them better, or you simply want to have a better insight into the world’s second largest religion, this comprehensive article will help you understand what Ramadan is all about.

Ramadan is the holy Islamic month of fasting. During the month,
Muslims will fast during the daylight, in all conditions and break their fast at nightfall with family and friends. Many of us wonder though, what can it be like to fast for an entire month?

Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims across the world fast,
begins today – 1st August 2011. Besides fasting, it is a time for spiritual fulfilment, emotional rebalancing, mental reflection and physical purification. Traditionally, Muslims consider Ramadan the ultimate month of charity, prayer, Qur’an, family and community.  It lasts for 29 to 30 days depending on the sighting of the new moon (hilal), so is due to end in Eid ul Fitr on 30th August.

July seems to be THE month for Independence Days. independence days
There are 24 in all!

Happy Independence Day to you all.

July 1st
Burundi
Rwanda
Somalia