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!

Every year, on June 20th, the United Nations observes World Refugee Day. Some countries also organize an annual refuge week.

Refugee Day

Burmese refugees march on World Refugee Day.

In the UK, the refuge week is from the 18th to the 24th of June. Refuge week is a time to recognize the hardships, determination, and courage of people who are forced to leave their homes due to war and oppression. Moreover, in the UK, refuge week is a time to celebrate the various contributions refugees bring to the country. The Telegraph lists ten examples of refugee contributions, among which are the following:

– One of Britain’s most famous buildings, Hampton Court Palace, was designed by a French Huguenot refugee.

– It is believed that fish and chips was brought over in the 17th century by Jewish refugees from Portugal.

– Hip-hop musician, political activist and designer M.I.A. is a Sri Lankan refugee.

– A son of an Italian refugee designed the Millennium Dome.

In 2011, there was a 20% increase in the amount of asylum seekers around the world. The on-going conflict in Afghanistan means that the country has more asylum seekers than any other country in the world. In 2011 alone 36,000 Afghans requested asylum. Other examples of countries producing a high number of asylum requests are Serbia, China, and Pakistan. United States, France, and Germany received the most requests for international protection. In 2011, UK was the seventh biggest receiver.

International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) is celebrated every year on May 17th. This date was chosen to mark the day because it was in May 17th in 1990 when homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization.International Day Against Homophobia

The day is coordinated by the Paris-based IDAHO committee. By 2010 the organization and the IDAHO day had been fully and officially recognized by the EU parliament, Belgium, the UK, Mexico, Costa Rica, The Netherlands, France, Luxemburg, Spain, and Brazil. In addition, in many countries like Argentina, Italy, Bolivia, and Croatia the day has been recognized by cities and regional governments…

When working internationally, there are certain principles
that are good to remembe

  1. Acknowledge differences exist
  2. Understand and analyse why those differences exist
  3. Appreciate the unique values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours of different cultures
  4. Adapt your behaviour — including your cross-cultural communication style — to meet the needs of others.
  5. Be sensitive to feedback and adapt accordingly.

When things just don’t seem to be going right… Remember:

Living and working in the Arab World will be completely different from anything else you have so far experienced. The place will be full of wonder and new things to encounter; exciting times – that’s the upside. However, most Western managers find working practices very frustrating and the lifestyle limiting; challenging times – that’s the downside. So how can you prepare for your new posting?



1. Learn something about the country, local customs, and cultural sensitivities to avoid making faux pas while abroad. Get a good grasp of why understanding cross-cultural differences is important in global business.

2. Always err on the side of formality and conservatism. Be low-key in dress, manners, and behaviour. Very few countries are casual in approach. The Australians are the most casual.

by Richard Cook

Why we need to become global networkers

When organisations ‘go global’ we often think of the formal networks that need to be stretched and expanded to accommodate the increase in communication that results. What we often fail to realise is that as individuals, we now need to network on a global scale as well, in order to maintain the effectiveness of our role. Having teams spread out across the globe, having key opinion leaders in remote offices means that our influencing skills can be severely tested as we try to continue applying them but now mostly virtually instead of face to face…

by Matthew Hill

The thought of foreign workers coming amongst us in the UK can be a daunting one. It can bring up emotive issues, practical considerations and a moment of contemplation about who we are and who are they?

Fear is part of the reaction – “Will they take my job?” “Will I be able to manage them?” “Will my life ever be the same again?”  One company was experiencing difficulty hiring experts in the UK…

There are many models that exist to describe the stages of emotions
and behaviours that one experiences during culture shock and the adaptation process. All of these models include periods of highs and lows, anticipation and resolution.  One model that describes the many ups and downs of culture shock is Rhinesmith’s Ten Stages of Adjustment.

So, you are off on a new adventure! You’re moving abroad.
You’re going to explore new cultures, do new things and meet new people.  However, living or working in a completely different culture can leave you feeling a little homesick. Here are a few tips of what to do before you go to help you acclimatise.