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On a scale of 1-10 how important is it to know the culture of the country you're working in/with?

I am a college freshman who is wanting to know all of the positives and negatives to a job abroad #marketing #international #international-business

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Yu-Han’s Answer

It is very important, like 9/10, to know the culture of the country you are working in/with. There can be a huge difference between different cultures in terms of the communication style, organization structure, relationship with your colleagues and direct supervisor, personal life after work, and teamwork... etc.

For example, East Asian cultures tend to be more indirect in communication. People don't call out when they disagree with other colleague's opinions. They express their disagreement in an indirect way. Needless to say the disagreement with your supervisors. That brings in the difference of organization structure and hierarchy as well. Some organizations are flat and some are complicated. Asian cultures take hierarchy seriously. People expect new employees to respect and follow orders from senior employees and supervisors/managers, sometimes personal opinions are not allowed to express.

Regarding the personal time after work, some cultures value family time so colleagues do not have much interaction after office hours. Some cultures think it is necessary to net work with colleagues at dinner after work and drinking occasions afterwards so the team expect every team member to join dinner or drinking gathering.

It is very interesting to learn different cultures and how people interact. If you have friends or colleagues from the culture/have been to that country you will work with I encourage you reach out to them to express your interest in knowing that countries, or search culture introduction videos on YouTube I believe there are a lot.

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Carlos’s Answer

Hi Alexis - 10/10, hands down. I was born and raised in Mexico, moved to the US for undergrad, and have traveled to 50+ countries for both work and fun, and culture is an indispensable part of navigating another country. Language, meeting etiquette, personal interactions, deadlines, comfort/use of technology, food, etc., all are very important considerations to keep in mind if you're planning on visiting and/or working somewhere abroad. In terms of learning more about these things upfront, googling travel guides and/or connecting with people who have lived or currently live there are always good places to start. I hope this helps!

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Joe’s Answer

Extremely important if you want to be successful and enjoy living in another culture. There are so many nuances for etiquette that by not becoming knowledgeable can result in serious insults. Some examples:

In China better have a gift ready when they show up for a business meeting. The customary tradition is that gifts are refused up to three times before being accepted. It is important to continue offering until the present is finally taken.

In Brazil it is customary to stand extremely close and use lots of physical contact while talking. So if you need your "personal space" be prepared for an invasion.

In Spain...deadlines are "targets".

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Pooja’s Answer

Hi Alexis,

Working abroad is a great opportunity to learn new culture and widen your horizons. However, it can be stressful an challenging when you are not in your comfort zone but isn't that the case when you move in a new school/college/neighborhood. Preparation is the key, Google about that country: its Culture/ Etiquettes/ Demography, etc. This will give you a general overview of what you are getting in to.. But the real test is always on field and always remember if you don't know something about that country or its people; neither do they about you... So keep you conversations smart to involve your culture or background. People on the other side might be interested in knowing your story.

I hope this helps :)

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Wael’s Answer

It is extremely important. For example, if you a Japanese person hands you his business card, putting right away in your pocket is a great insult. You have to read it thoroughly then put it in your pocket. It is the little things that it gets you. In other wards, 10/10!