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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Working in an International Environment



Kirjoittanut: Flóra Lang - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 3 minuuttia.

After 2 semesters behind, I have had the chance not only to experience but also to reflect a bit on our international work environment. Often, I hear that working in such an environment is a privilege and that it has a lot of benefits, however, as a part of SYNTRE, I can’t always see those benefits so clearly when it regards the professional aspects. I believe our team has so far experienced more the hardships such as language and cultural differences in business life. In this essay, I aim to find ways to use SYNTRE’s internationalism to our advantage.

Disadvantages

  1. “Different cultures have very different styles of collaboration.” There are cases when the workers are too different from each other. That can happen with people from the same country as well. However, professional surrounding is always different. In this case, the problem starts from basic belief systems and traditions. Unlearning something after years of doing it is both difficult and unfair to ask. For example, an Asian person might have a difficult time giving feedback to their older, male supervisor, and Finns have a hard time appearing excited toward their very extroverted South American colleagues.
  2. When starting to learn something new such as a new language or new cultural behaviors, especially if it’s in a new country, it can get overwhelming and draining. The adjusting period, in the beginning, might not only be difficult but also more expensive compared to their local co-workers, which the company has to keep in mind when coming up with a budget for their onboarding costs.

(Ford 2020)

 

Advantages

  1. Having internationals at a company brings a lot of value when we look at the languages spoken. Businesses create a nicer experience for customers coming from other countries if they can communicate with someone familiar (regarding culture or just the language). It also brings the possibility and added benefits, in the beginning, to reach out to other countries economies and start operating internationally.
  2. Although it may seem that the language differences can cause trouble on top of the initial benefit, the culture of that person itself can compensate for the difficulties that could come up when it comes to internal communications. Workers coming from another culture, or another country may bring new perspectives with them. This is also true for a regular, new workforce (coming from the country of operations), but on a higher level. Newcomers and foreigners are the best sources of getting fresh feedback on what is working well and what could be improved as well as bringing in completely new ideas that might be common practices in other countries.
  3. International workplaces can also be an advantage internally as cultures can freshen up and motivate otherwise dull offices.
  4. Learning is a constant element of working life, now more than ever. The world is changing rapidly and to keep up, one must learn and learn all the time. A multicultural surrounding can be a huge source of the learning process, starting from cultural etiquette, through languages, to common practices as mentioned before.

(Ford 2020; Sherman 2012)

 

Reflection

It is not only SYNTRE that had to get used to working in an international team and international environment, but also the whole Proakatemia community. Language problems are the most obvious signs of a disadvantage per se. Still, they can also be understood as having a positive effect on the community as a whole and on the individuals as well. In the past 2 years, Proakatemia has gone through a lot of changes and difficulties but it seems to be handling well, these new, different but exciting times.

Conclusion

Personally, I think that working in an international environment is worth it, regardless of the difficulties. The world is changing rapidly and to keep up, we need as many perspectives as we can get. However, I agree that it is not for everyone. Unlucky for those, they are in the danger zone of being left behind.

 

References

Sherman, F. 2012. Advantages and Disadvantages of a Multicultural Workforce. Updated on 5.2.2019. Read on 20.9.2022

https://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-disadvantages-multicultural-workforce-18903.html

Ford, R. 2020. 4 Benefits of an International Workforce for Your Business. Read on 20.9.2022

https://fordmurraylaw.com/4-benefits-of-an-international-workforce-for-your-business/

 

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