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FUTURE LEADERS 

Experienced with Different Cultures

When we use the term immigration and integration, many believe that these conditions are associated with the mass movement of a group of individuals who seek a better way of life in another location or country. Both conditions play a greater role for individuals and organizations that wish to propel themselves forward in this ever changing global economy. 

With cheaper plane tickets and with new accessibility of the Internet and the World Wide Web in the mid to late 1990’s, employees and employers alike took it upon themselves to utilize this Global platform to become more valuable as an individual to an organization. Alternatively, in the case of the organization, it led to increased efficiency of the hiring and retention of individuals who decided to ride the wave of change and technology that came about with the advent of the Internet.

 Those who decided to explore other cultures, especially through employment, tend to gain specific experiences and work methodologies that may be beneficial in an ever-expanding global economy. Gaining experience working within a different culture or with people of a different culture will give one a competitive edge that is viewed as beneficial for the individual as well as the organization to which the individual is employed. 

The reality is that most employers are quicker to recognize the true value of a person who possesses international experience and are quicker to place them in leadership roles for two simple reasons. Possessing international experience makes the individual more competent to deal with issues that may be beyond the safe zone that local minds are limited. Also, employers tend to give the top priority tasks and roles to those individuals who recognized the importance of international experience to the point in which they will immerse themselves in a different culture and adapt to a different working environment to demonstrate his or her ambition. 

Some may argue that utilizing the Internet is an effective means to learn about other cultures so physically going and immersing in other cultures is not necessary. While it does bring you closer to the world, the Internet is a kick-start or a motivator to wanting to live and work abroad.

Remote work, or even web browsing, while advantageous when needing to retrieve or send vital information in as little time and with little effort as possible from one continent to another, cannot be compared to being totally immersed into a new and diverse culture, where one can either learn or teach about a more innovative means of completing a task or project.

The fact is that there are numerous personal and professional benefits for someone who worked in a different culture. For one, employers are most likely to pay the individual with international experience more than the regular worker, and if the person learned a second language, they tend to make 20% more than their counterparts. The company or organization will often recognize the individual as a vital part of the organization’s growth strategy whether it is trying to enter new markets on a national level or looking to expand to other countries.

Overall, an individual who has international experience is regularly associated with the individuals slated for leadership and managerial roles who are statistically proven to be better at dealing and solving complex problems.

The world is becoming increasingly connected, and we experience this on a daily basis through social media outputs, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Slack to name a few, connecting colleagues with each other internationally. Increased business travels and cultural emersion allows one to bridge contacts and superior knowledge of a particular region to an organization that is looking to grow globally. 

Realistically speaking, however, the older we get, it is harder to drop everything and move to a foreign country, so it is of importance to note that such an experience would be better achieved early in your career. The younger you are, the more equipped you are to immerse yourself in a different culture and harness skills and experiences that will make one stand out and thus be more accoutred for the role of management and leadership. Many find it very frustrating initially to have to alter work style and habits while adapting to the new one, but this is the substance of which successful leaders are made. Adapting to this new way shows the flexibility and the intuitiveness that a good leader must attain. Experience abroad is a sure means of establishing oneself as a quick decision maker who is not afraid to take chances. 

According to a survey by Harris Poll for TransferWise 35% of people living in the United States would consider moving abroad. Additionally, according to PwC 71% of young professionals want to work internationally and consider it essential to career growth. According to The British Press 47% of UK graduates plan to move abroad in the next 12 months. There is no doubt Millenials are global minded and thus the leaders of these individuals must also be aligned with global cultures. International experience has been proven to be advantageous to many, and if given the opportunity, it would be in one’s best interest to at least seriously consider as it would beneficial to both you as an individual and to the company who hires you based on such credentials. A leader can govern more efficient and effectively if he recognizes cultures beyond their own. The broader his/her horizons are, the more efficient he/she will be in making decisions.

Cheer to peace and progress,

Melissa

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