5 Important Intercultural skills examples for working abroad

Every day more and more people decide to emigrate and start a business in a country different from their origins, culture, customs and society.

That is why it is important to know what are the 5 intercultural skills to work abroad.

Intercultural skills for working abroad
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Table of Contents

Why is it important to develop intercultural skills?

Migrating to other countries is never easy, but sometimes it is more of a necessity than an alternative.

There are countries where the economy, social stability, crime, education and even culture are not at their best, so people tend to look for nations that offer better alternatives in this regard.

Many of the people who wish to emigrate in search of better life opportunities, usually worry about the language and focus on learning it fluently. However, this is not everything.

Anyone hired for an international position must take on the challenge of learning new things from a variety of perspectives.

Refusal to do so can mean failure or an inability to adapt, resulting in financial or other losses.

On the other hand, developing certain intercultural skills can be of benefit on a social, cultural and work level, so that you will not only be able to perform adequately in your job but also facilitate interpersonal relationships.

group of smiling multicultural students with laptop in university
multicultural businesspeople shaking hands in office

What are the advantages of developing intercultural skills?

As one person decides to go out of their confort zone, and go to the adventure, it will be when this person will also put him or herself on new situations where they will learn different skills. 

The internationalization of a person will bring development in various aspects of life.

As one start to develop intercultural skills such as languages, empathy, critical thinking, flexibilitu and cultural awareness, this person will also work on his personal development and not just as a professional level.

Some important advantages of developing intercultural skills are that the person will be able to see the world from different points of view, and will learn that there is no universal truth about how to see and live life.

Diversity will be adopted from different aspects, and the person will gain a respect to people who undergo under different circumstances.

A person that has constant contact and learn from other cultures will enrich himself with international experiences of how people also solve problems in different cultures.

5 Intercultural Skills Examples

These are intercultural skills examples that you can take into account if you want to further develop your professional career abroad.

1. Speak Languages

It is common that the first thing people who wish to emigrate think about is speaking the language of the country they plan to travel to. In this sense, it may be of greater benefit to learn languages such as English or Spanish, which dominate a large part of the world territory.

Language is not only a way to communicate, it is also a tool that breaks down barriers between people, allowing information to be shared fluently.

It is also a socialization tool that promotes the participation of those who emigrate in the fundamental activities of the country, from labor to cultural, therefore the importance of intercultural communication.

2. Adaptability and openness

Those who migrate must have an open mind to take on the challenges of starting in a different country, as well as the ability to adapt to all the cultural, social and labor changes that this implies.

It may not be easy, but it is necessary when it comes to making a change of life and country.

Moreover, it can be beneficial, making the process easier and less traumatic for the immigrant.

Obviously, this does not mean that the person who arrives in a new country to work should accept everything that is presented to him and adapt to it without protest, but to keep an open mind to the new customs, traditions and ways of working in the place.

Those who are unwilling and resistant to change should probably not work abroad, as the process can be complicated.

3. Empathy, tolerance and respect

Multicultural group of co-workers

Empathy, tolerance and respect are fundamental values in any human being and even more so in those who wish to work abroad, mainly because not everyone finds it easy to receive migrants or emigrate.

Empathy implies the ability of human beings to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, that is, in someone else’s place in order to understand their needs, problems, customs and traditions.

This implies that one must understand the culture of the country and the people one wishes to be part of.

Tolerance, on the other hand, is a value that implies great wisdom and patience to accept that which cannot be changed or against which it is not possible to fight, this means that even if the culture of the country clashes in some way with that of the immigrant, he/she must be able to accept it.

Respect, finally, is a value that means not attacking any other human being, person, culture, tradition or other, so that admiration can be shown in front of this new country.

Although respect implies consideration and even submission on the part of those who practice it, it is fair to say that this does not mean allowing others to attack or abuse the person, but that the limits of what is acceptable must be respected.

4. Cultural awareness

Wherever a person goes, he or she should know that knowledge is power, and the same is true of culture.

The term “cultural awareness” refers to cultural knowledge and is about understanding that there are differences between people’s practices, customs and backgrounds, accepting and respecting them, so that both parties benefit.

It is also possible to understand cultural awareness as the ability of human beings to identify, respect and learn from other cultures in situations that merit it.

The idea is that it serves as a key strategy to be used in situations such as working abroad.

5. Critical Thinking

Group of friends with their hands in the air. Concept of multicultural, friendship, celebrating.

This term “critical thinking” refers to the ability of people to identify, evaluate, analyze and interpret the situations that happen around them.

This quality has some benefits for those who practice it, such as:

  • Greater clarity and precision in the recognition of problems or conflictive situations.
  • Improved understanding and analysis, so that they can find an efficient solution.
  • Improvements in the planning and administration of activities, oriented to satisfy needs.
 

Finally, it is possible to assure that critical thinking is a practice that allows us to know the different points of view, without making value judgments or rushing to conclusions, but later to verify and consciously decide about it.

Critical thinking can be worked on and developed from an early age and is usually exercised during the school stage, so that preserving this quality means great advantages in the future, especially for those who wish to work abroad.

All these skills mentioned above work together and constitute the perfect tools for anyone who wishes to work abroad and make a life in that country.

Basically, they are qualities that can increase your chances of success.

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