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 barrier.


Following an investigation we gathered the testimonies of several French people from all over the world.

In Canada,ease of hiring is the main difference with France. Young French people think they can find a job there more easily. Loïs, a French expatriate, saw the opportunity to prove herself. Indeed if it does not work, the next day we are fired! So if you progress quickly and you are resourceful and efficient, the doors open very quickly. This can be explained by a more flexible labour market in Anglo-Saxon countries. Besides, Vincent saw the same thing in London.

In Asia,taking initiatives, proposing new ideas or projects in business is not well seen as in France. Emilie was very surprised by the lack 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 is unavoidable. However in Dubai this is not the case! 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 schedule. So the first week she went to the company restaurant. She would sometimes see her boss in a hurry with her briefcase. Mouna told himself that he was in a hurry to go and eat … Until the day when she takes full force the remark of her boss “you know Mouna, here it’s not like in France, we have no break already!”

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

The “yes” syndrome in Vietnam. Christophe, an executive, speaks best of this: “One of your Vietnamese collaborators will never say “no” out of pride and conviction. On the other hand, it is not at all obvious that it gives you back a job that corresponds to expectations and objectives despite his efforts. So there is a longer time to negotiate and implement action in the company.”

In the end it just has to adapt, as for everything finally. Then beware the biggest culture shock perhaps in France! For Julie, after several years abroad, regaining the French-French corporate culture was sometimes a bit difficult.

Regardless of the country,expat insurance allows you to travel serenely and focus on the main one: getting used to cultural differences!

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