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September 30, 2010 / Astor ICS

The Expat’s New Country and New Attitude

So what do you watch out for when you’re beginning your work in a new country? What do you need to do or not do, to make an excellent start?

First, let’s examine the situation. You may be somewhere with people who have never traveled or seen any distant lands and cultures. Since we normally rationalize in our own favor, it’s easy to suppose that those people have attitudes and styles that seem universal, but aren’t. Universal in the sense that they could believe that this is how it is. Your not going to be successful arguing about it with them but you can be successful being ready for it.

Now, consider this checklist.

  1. Don’t comment on people and their looks or behaviors. What’s accepted in your country may not be accepted in your host country.  Really stay away from this temptation. You may offend someone without realizing it and then they may not want to interact with you.
  2. Don’t make extreme gestures. This can be interpreted in a way that is not at all what you intended. Be comfortable but in good posture and use your facial expressions to calmly send the message of, ‘we can connect here’.
  3. If you’re not sure that you were understood correctly, ask. Make sure that what you are saying gets across. If it doesn’t try to re-phrase it. Make sure you do this because you want to, and not because you have to.

These are just a few simple aids, but you’d be surprised to see that if you can build a sense of interest and understanding through polite behavior, you will have progressed to where you want to be very fast.

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