Our culture is in our roots

it reflects on the way we think and feel without us even realizing it. We often behave automatically without much consideration on it because we feel comfortable in our own cultural setting. However, leaving our environment changes everything and what used to be efficient is no longer serving us.

It is important to know that culture defines what behavior is socially accepted, not who we are. Who we are depends on us!

In order to feel comfortable and successful in a new cultural environment we have to be well aware of the new socially approved norms. Once we are familiar with them it is up to us if we want to follow the norms or not. However, we can only decide if we have enough knowledge, otherwise we do not have a real choice. What cultural competence gives us is a choice! Where to start – with ourselves!


Why is it important to be culturally competent?

Cultural competence is a notion with many definitions but in summary it refers to our ability to interact effectively and appropriately with others who have different cultural backgrounds, based on our knowledge, attitudes and skills.

This is a “hot topic” globally.  Nowadays, being able to deal with cultural differences is a key to success for everyone - whether entrepreneurs who want to develop a successful business abroad or employees who want to stand out on the labor market.

"That's just the way I am" doesn't work! You surely are a wonderful person with unique qualities, which you are not going to lose if you try to be more adaptable and informed. You will not lose what you have gained so far, you will improve it. Moreover, you will become more flexible and able to cope successfully in many more situations.

In this fast- paced lifestyle that the new century brought we can’t afford to be bystanders! We can choose who we are, we can change, we can grow.  The better we understand ourselves, the better relationships we are able to build with others.

When we know ourselves better, we tend to be less dependent on others’ opinions and our self-esteem grows. This is helpful in a new environment, because knowing your worth, you will be able to stand for yourself and build yourself up without hesitation.

What skills do we need to be successful in the future?

Here you can learn more about the study.

There are 10 skills shown in the study that call for future success and one of them is cross cultural competency. This skill is the one thigh up to the other 3 aspects: novel and adaptive thinking, social intelligence and virtual collaboration. Those 4 aspects together are summed up as “globally- connected world”. The study shows that organizations of the future will have to partner with others from all over the world and cultural competency will be the key factor in multi-cultural teams. Those interactions could lead to tremendous results or to enormous failures, depending on participants’ cultural competence.

Who will benefit from this information?

Anyone who lives, works or study in a different cultural environment or intends to do so, for a long or short term. It is beneficial for everyone who wants to feel good in the new environment and gain positive experience.  

Here, I would like to add that the duration of your experience abroad is less important than the interactions with others. Sometimes, no matter how good our intentions towards others are, if we do not have the appropriate knowledge, the result might be contrariwise to our expectations.

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The experience abroad has its advantages!

The experience in a different cultural environment gives us the opportunity to get to know ourselves better! This helps us to priorities better and aim higher. All we need is to change our perspective and to recognize the potential in this opportunity.

This study shows that the experience abroad gives the individuals more creativity, boosts up their careers and minimizes intergroup bias. The authors are pointing out to how we perceive ourselves and it shows that people who lived abroad have better understanding of who they are.