While Millennials may be referred to disparagingly as fickle “job-hoppers”, there is no denying that moving to a new position can accelerate the climb up the proverbial career ladder. This is due to a myriad of reasons, including the fact it provides a unique opportunity to acquire new skills, reassert your worth and move into innovative and successful new markets.
When evaluating the next career move, it is particularly important to explore international opportunities. Companies value those who are willing to relocate – it shows flexibility and a willingness to accept challenges. It should be emphasized that the benefit of moving is not only for the employee but also the whole family. Exploring a new culture and learning a new language is highly advantageous to both spouses and children.
Here are a few things to consider about Language Training:
1. Language training (including your spouse) support offered as part of company expatriation policy
Companies understand that their employees and their spouses will have difficulty settling into a new country without first having had language classes. To this end, language support is offered as part of companies’ expatriation policies.
As a Career Coach & Intercultural Expert, my research published in 2018 showed that offering language training to employees seems to be on the one hand, not only an opportunity for them to learn the local language, increasing the comfort level for themselves and family members in their transition but also a way of building trust when interacting with other people competent in the target language. It also helps assignees develop more effective business relationships and gain greater self-confidence, by discovering the culture in a foundational way that will facilitate their adaptability in the novel cultural environment.
Though the task of learning a language before relocating may seem insurmountable, Eszett Languages, which teaches thousands of expatriates and specializes in relocation language training for all ages, helps to alleviate associated stress, ensuring employees have the language competency to start a new job role with immediate success. For children and spouses, the language training offered by Eszett helps to establish friendships and become quickly accustomed to a new school. Moreover, the increasing uptake of online lessons, and the development of technology (such as virtual classrooms) that facilitate them, ensure lessons can be easily slotted into one’s normal routine.
2. Which languages you should study first
As one of the most widely spoken second languages in the world, ex-pats often perfect their English before uprooting, however, French or German lessons or courses prove to be crucial for those migrating to countries such as Switzerland or too lucrative job markets.
Being able to converse in at least one other language is a must if one shows effective leadership and communicates with colleagues and clients globally. Failing to develop linguistic proficiency carries the risk of leaving you isolated from important discussions and can even lose the respect of your peers. In addition to speaking one another’s language, one should also be aware of the main cultural mistakes to avoid when working abroad.
This can vary significantly from country to country; for instance, circumventing the hierarchical structure represents one of the main cultural mistakes to avoid in France or Russia, while in the United Kingdom, managers and their subordinates enjoy an informal working relationship.
In Germany, meanwhile, the working culture consists of high productivity with shorter working hours, and thus small-talk, coffee breaks, or glances at one’s phone or the news are frowned upon.
3. Cultural mistakes to avoid
As cultural faux-pas can be detrimental to business, and as companies increasingly champion cultural diversity, cross-cultural training is incredibly important for ex-pats as it constitutes a useful tool that allows individuals to be mindful of differences among themselves, navigates on those differences, develops their global mindset and grows professionally in their role
Learning a language from a native speaker will naturally lend itself to acquiring cultural knowledge, but specifically, cultural awareness training also includes enhancing intercultural business strategy, management skills, and communication, achieved by explaining cultural values and attitudes in-depth.
Understandably, ex-pats feel daunted at the prospect of relocating themselves and their families. Yet any initial trepidation will quickly be overcome when the many benefits of moving reveal themselves.