The Changing Pace of Expatriate Integration

Relocating around the world is a stressful experience, and it takes a while to settle into a new location, especially one with a completely alien culture. Coupled with the fact that expatriate assignments are becoming shorter and expatriates are expected to be highly mobile and adaptable. This means that in order to have a career as an expat, assignees and their families need to keep up with the evolving trends of business and that being able to quickly integrate into a new culture is a real asset.

The UAE is a very dynamic always evolving environment. Dubai, an exciting cosmopolitan and multicultural city hosting over 2 million expatriates, who generally enjoy living in Dubai.
However, as for any relocation, there are challenges experienced by new arrivals to Dubai.

Their initial impression of the city may be influenced by erroneous beliefs and assumptions.

Dubai appears to all intents and purposes to be a thoroughly modern, cosmopolitan and liberal city. However, beneath this lies a culture steeped in tradition.

There also exists a wonderful opportunity to have an entirely new experience, and change ones pre-conceptions by having an open mind, embracing the local culture and appreciating what is beautiful about it.

Whether the assignee is new to expatriate life, or a seasoned expatriate “globetrotter”, they will undoubtedly benefit from receiving a cultural understanding of the host country upon arrival. Armed with an appreciation of local culture, the expatriate will be greatly advantaged as they tackle this new challenge.

This will accelerate the alignment between image and reality, and may be critical to the overall success of the assignment.

So, what is the best way to support expatriates during this assimilation process? We feel it is by giving them key facts, and a particular heed to their concerns; from diversity, cultural difference at work, spouse career pursuit to 3rd culture generation specifics.

Whatever their origin, expatriates benefit greatly from obtaining more awareness and mindfulness of their new land.

By providing this resource, companies will benefit from having employees ready to perform at their best in a shorter space of time in their new reality. They’ll be able to not only mitigate the negative impact of cultural differences, but also to leverage the advantages of cultural diversity in the workplace.

This is the reason why Intouch Relocations created personalized cross-cultural training and coaching to support assignee and families by speeding up and smoothening with their integration process.

“If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself”.

Tony Hsieh

Virginie Gossart

Cross-Cultural Coach working in partnership with Intouch Relocations

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