Training for Expatriates

For some expatriates, the strangeness of the new and unfamiliar is a stimulating and refreshing change that presents fresh challenges and opportunities for personal growth and development.

For other people, these international moves are difficult because they imply change. Moving to another country means giving up all that is familiar. Familiarity is very comforting to most people. It means that our environment is predictable and therefore safe.

In a way, the expatriate in a foreign culture is like a child who has to learn the simplest things over again. This usually leads to feelings of insecurity, of helplessness, of being unable to control events that can produce stress and even hostility towards the new environment; all are signs that can be associated with “culture shock”.

Poor performance, subsequent lack of confidence, and failing job satisfaction can turn a prestigious foreign assignment into a nightmare.

According to a research in Spain, two thirds of the Spanish companies fail in their expatriate policy due to a lack of personal and family adaptation. Figures from the USA suggest that around 40% of foreign assignments terminate ahead of schedule.

The training objective is to help the expatriate (and ideally the partner and the contact team in the home country) to understand better and quicker:

• the impact of national cultures on daily life and on business.

• the most significant cultural differences between the host country and their country.

• the usual evolution of the expatriate’s feelings across time (the “acculturation curve”) so as to make them more aware of the process and to help them to live it more comfortably.

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