The Expat Personality: What type of person adjusts well to culture?

Do you think that you are doing a good job adjusting to your host culture? Not everybody is a perfect fit for a stressful job like living abroad. Different cultural norms leave us in many situations in which we don’t know how to act. They confuse us and make us feel stressed out. The stress is a result of the…

Cultural Learning: It’s Time to Experience, Reflect, and Experiment, NOW!

One of my American friends who teaches in Japan once told me how frustrated he was about the performance of his class, which was far below average at his school. He told me that his students simply were not motivated. However, unlike many other people, he did not seek the fault with his students. He set out to understand what…

Cultural Adaption and It’s Setbacks: When Expats Fall on Their Asses

“How much is the parrot” a woman asked. “Wow, ma’m,” uttered the owner, “this is a very expensive parrot, because he speaks both Spanish and English.” “Oh really? Can you get him to speak in both languages?” “Sure you can. Look, it’s quite simple: If you pull the left leg he speaks English.” And he pulled the parrot’s let leg.…

Self-Awareness is the Key to Figuring Out your Personal Values and those of Others

Today it somehow made click for me. When I was talking with one of my acquaintances, she explained to my why she had only one hour time to get lunch with me in every detail you could imagine. She went round and round and round, but my question only was how much time she had so that I could plan…

How to Adapt To Your Environment Without Loosing Yourself

Eminem isn’t exactly famous for his intellectual insights, but with this statement he comes very near to what I want to express in this post: your self is much more dependent on other people than you would have ever imagined.  In western cultures, we raise our children to express themselves and to strive towards their goals. In short: we value…

What Emotional Style Is And Why It Makes You Look Good Even Far From Home

Going abroad can be hard on your emotions. All the loneliness, home-sickness, strangeness, confusion. It can simply overwhelm you. One friend of mine even went back home after just one(!) week. It then comes to no surprise that companies select their expatriates carefully and often provide them with extensive training. However, this training can not do much to prepare you…

The Classic Match-Up: Diverse- VS. Homogeneous Work Groups

It is a classic problem and until now it’s unresolved. The question what teams work better: diverse teams or homogeneous one’s. Oh man, all these dilemmas we face…. Creativity vs. performance. Intra-group Conflict vs. Groupthink. Fresh Ideas vs. Real Results and so on… But what if we wouldn’t have to face these dilemmas anymore? What if we could have everything?…

Seek, Sense, Share: A Framework For Making Sense Of The World

There is a good reason why I love moving from country to country: I want to understand the world. I know it’s impossible. Nobody could ever understand everything. But still, I think experiencing the world is the key to coming as far as one possibly can. Wherever you go you will see unique perspectives on the world. Now, of course…

When National Culture Looses its Grip on You – Say Thanks to Your Environment!

Who are you? What makes you who you are? Your job, the country you come from, your education, or maybe your religion? Right now I am struggling to answer these questions for myself. Of course I know that all of these aspects together form the person I am. But there are aspects of your life that have a bigger influence…

Lead Like the Buddha: Integrating Buddhist Thoughts Into Corporate Culture

There was one man who succeeded in using Buddhist teachings to create an amazing corporate culture: Dr. Yoshiro Maruta, ex-president of the Kao corporation. Himself a Buddhist scholar, he was well aware of the similarities between the Buddhist philosophy and great leadership.   Maruta mainly integrated two aspects of Buddhism into the corporate culture of the Kao Corporation. Human equality…