Interpret, Internalize, Innovate

From my point of view, there are three keys to expatriate success. When I speak of expatriate success in this case, then what I am referring to is the ability to act confidently and effectively in a different cultural environment than one’s own.

Firstly, you need to act as an interpreter between people of your culture and people of your host culture.

Secondly, you need to internalize the values and beliefs of your host culture.

Thirdly, you need to innovate a new belief system by creating synthesis between your culture of origin and your host culture.

Interpreting is important because local people who have never lived abroad as well as other expatriates are going to struggle a lot with understanding each other. It is your role to be their bridge.

Internalizing the new values and beliefs is important because without doing so, you will always remain a sense of superiority to the local ways making it impossible for you to adapt behaviours that work effectively in the new cultural environment.

Innovating a new belief system is important because if you don’t do it, then your only choice is to make an either/or decision between your culture of origin and your host culture. Do you really want that, especially if you can adapt the more positive sides of each of them?

Tim

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