Relocating to another country can be a challenging experience for many international assignees. Cultural differences international assignees may encounter in the food, language, working practices or cultural values can lead to culture shock. The ability to effectively manage culture shock and cultural difference is crucial to the success of the international assignment. A cultural awareness training for relocation course can help expats to more effectively manage the challenges of living and working in a new country through developing strategies to stay active, meet people and find new hobbies in the target culture.
Finding new hobbies is an excellent way to successfully adapt to a new culture but it can sometimes be a challenge as many international assignees search only for things they did in their home country. There are many new hobbies and activities expatriates can get involved in that can bring immense benefit to them. Expatriates living in South East Asia recently discovered this when they opened a Gaelic Football club.
Gaelic football was played widely in Ireland during the 19th century and came to South East Asia through international assignees coming from the UK. Surprisingly, this sport was well received and the locals joined expatriates in creating several teams which are now competing against each other across China, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand. Joe Trolan recently described Gaelic Football in the Korean Times as a real bridge between British international assignees and Koreans.
Some find it strange to see a traditional Gaelic sport spreading throughout South East Asia but this is a perfect illustration of sport’s uncanny ability to bridge cultural differences and ease intercultural communication. Indeed, sport is a great way to overcome cultural differences.
One of the best examples of this is football, commonly called the “world game”. Football’s unrivalled popularity and ability to bring different cultures together is proven through the many tournaments across countries and cups like the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Football is not the only sport that creates bridges between cultures. Cricket, for instance is equally popular in the UK, Australia and India, thanks to the common past shared by both countries. Japan, Korea and the US share the same passion for baseball while ice hockey enjoys an enormous popularity both in Eastern Europe and North America.
These sports and many others are instrumental in bringing cultures together around the world and helping expatriates effectively manage their international assignment. Whether playing together with locals and other expats in a league or watching a sports event together, sports can break down barriers of cultural difference and help expats build relationships that will improve their international assignment.
Playing or watching sports on an international assignment is just one thing expats can do to ensure their success abroad. Understanding the key cultural values of their own culture and their host culture and being able to effectively manage these differences is essential. A cultural awareness training for relocation course can give international assignees the cultural insights and strategies they need to overcome the main challenges of an international assignment.
Knowing how a culture operates and how to build relationships with people in the target country will help expats throughout their international assignment. The cultural awareness, knowledge and skills expats can gain from a cultural awareness training for relocation course can also help them to perform more effectively in any sport they decide to play as an expat, making international assignment more enjoyable.
© Communicaid Group Ltd. 2010