Cultural change: working abroad

Working abroad is above all a discovery, a cultural change. You have to get used to new ways of working, and it’s not just a question of language barriers.

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Following a survey, we collected the testimonies of several French people from the four corners of the world.

In Canada, ease of hiring is the main difference with France. Young French people think it’s easier to find a job there. Loïs, a French expatriate, has seen the opportunity to prove herself. If it doesn’t work, you’re fired the next day! So if you progress quickly and are resourceful and efficient, doors open very quickly. This can be explained by the more flexible labor market in Anglo-Saxon countries. Vincent found the same thing to be true in London.

In Asia, taking the initiative and proposing new ideas or projects within a company is not as highly regarded as it is in France. Emilie was very surprised by the absence of the concept of initiative among employees and by the vision of employers.

In Dubai, the biggest cultural difference is the lunch break! In France, in a boui-boui: it’s a must. But that’s not the case in Dubai! Mouna tells us about her experience with her new job in marketing. On her first day, her boss informs her that she is in control of her own schedule. So the first week she went to the company restaurant. Sometimes she would see her boss, in a hurry, with his briefcase. Mouna told herself that he was in a hurry to go and eat… Until the day she took her boss’s remark in stride: “You know Mouna, here it’s not like in France, we don’t have a lunch break!”

In Germany, we know all the clichés about German rigor. Task timing can be one of these clichés. But for Antonia it’s more of a bad memory! “Yes, yes, the response time of my colleagues in customer service was timed!”

The “yes” syndrome in Vietnam. Christophe, an executive, says it best: “One of your Vietnamese employees will never say ‘no’ out of pride and conviction. On the other hand, it’s not at all obvious that they will return work that corresponds to your expectations and objectives, despite their efforts. It therefore takes longer to negotiate and implement an action within the company”.

In the end, you just have to adapt, as with everything. And then there’s the biggest culture shock of all, perhaps in France! For Julie, after several years abroad, returning to the Franco-French corporate culture was sometimes a little difficult.

Whatever the country,expatriate insurance allows you to travel with peace of mind and concentrate on the most important thing: getting used to cultural differences!

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