HOW YOU'RE MANAGING "BEING DIVERSITY"
How many times have you heard the word diversity in recent years, how many times have you felt they were talking about you, has the concept you had of diversity changed since you were expatriate to you?
There is something that we share all human beings, we love to feel that we are part of something, of a group, with something that we difference from the vast majority and, of course, our group is the good one, the one with the right values, the one that has the answers., suddenly some kind of change in our reality changes us the way we label ourselves.
When you change countries, during your international experience you have to face the prejudices of other people, but also yours, it is a good time (not to say the best) to reset your mind and put into practice all those soft skills that you have.
Now you face every day to be part of all the types of diversity that you can think of: functional, cultural,sexual, family, gender, linguistic, biological. And you can’t evade it, you can’t ignore it. Even the meaning of each of the different forms of diversity changes depending on the culture you are in.
There are many types of expats, you all face the experience of belonging to more than one part of the world, each in its own way. You decide what kind of expat, nomadic, migrant, international student, global worker you are. And that will make you different from other expats around you. How you manage being diversity will help you make your international experience unique and exclusive.
I’m going to write several posts about diversity. In this first, I’m going to focus on cultural diversity. It’s not the same if you’ve managed to adapt to life in the new country as if you haven’t made it yet. Obviously there are cultures that you’re going to find easier to adapt to because they’re more similar to those of your place of origin In fact, not changing the language, in principle makes things much easier, but still, the culture is different and it’s in those differences where sometimes you’re going to be aware of the cultural clash, which is a constant throughout the international experience. It can change the degree, but it’s always there and it’s NORMAL, it’s where you can get more learning from.
It is very common that you have gained perspective, which is a great gain, but at the same time you will face monocultural people who may be offended by your cultural relativism. Questioning others’ ideas about the functioning of the world and life can be enriching or conflicting depending on the person in front of you. Therefore, you will not always be able to share your vision with others and you will find yourself during your international experience with people not prepared to know your perspective.
It’s normal, remember if at some point in your life you’ve become widespread: “It’s that the (put here the ethnic group or nationality you want) are like this”, “if you don’t know the language is because you don’t want to integrate”, “the… they just relate to each other,” etc. Well, now, it’s you, who’s part of the different group for the vast majority of those around you.
What can you do not to despair when they don’t understand you, how to avoid taking as a personal thing a generalized behavior that displeases you, how to better understand the person in front of you who has a culture totally different from yours, how to live among the cultures that are part of your life?
During these years, I have worked with Spanish-speaking expats in more than 10 different countries and have discovered that many of them have managed to form their own hybrid culture, adopting from each of them what works best for them, which makes them feel comfortable in several cultures without having to fully fit into any of them. and they assume that while they are worth their own culture,they will clash with people who do not understand internationalization.
Of the steps that have been important to them in this process of internationalexperience, I stay with the following four and invite you to practice them:
- Take off prejudice and accept that things aren’t always going to work out like in your home country.
- Practice empathy tirelessly (for me empathy is that great unknown often named that serves us to improve relations with others and with ourselves).
- Get local friends and listen to learn.
- He understands that each country is unique and experiences, dances and plays the way they do there.
Tell us what works for you.
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