A global perspective is growing to be so important in business, with new markets in Europe and Asia on the rise.
It was always a dream of mine to work for a global company.
Here are four things I’ve learned since interning for a global communications firm in Barcelona.
1. GLOBAL NEWS IS NOT BORING
It’s not fun reading about the tough situations around the world: the natural disasters, bombings, politics, corruption–but being abroad it was good to read the news, and I gained a new appreciation for it. I would read the New York Times and New York Post online every morning to know what was going on back home. I would also pick up a newspaper here in Spain and read their local news. It was especially fun for me, because I was in Spain during the 2014 World Cup! Reading world news is pretty cool!
2. LITERAL TRANSLATIONS DO NOT ALWAYS WORK (Don’t let Google Translate Fool You)
Although I’m fluent in Spanish I still use translation sites to automatically translate long emails because it makes my life easier. That was when I realized just how horrible most of these translation resources were. EEEK!
Context is key.
While interning abroad in Spain I was given a task to write a press release in Spanish. At first I was so excited, a new challenge! Then as I began writing, I second guessed everything I wrote because I realized I’m not well-versed in Spain’s culture. It’s not easy trying to write a captivating press release in a market you don’t know much about.
For example I would say “alquilar un apartamento” they would say “alquilar un piso”.
Knowing the culture is key.
So for all the global business junkies like me, the lesson here:
It’s important to know the language but it’s equally (or more) important to know the target market’s culture.
3. HAVING COWORKERS FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!
Making new friends in a different country is great. You learn so much about countries, customs, and religions. You really get to see how different we all are, and in some cases how similar we all are. ❤
4. PREPARE TO BE SHOCKED AT SOME CULTURAL DIFFERENCES, BUT ALWAYS REMAIN RESPECTFUL
I remember my ethics professor telling our class, “if it doesn’t feel right to you ethically, you shouldn’t do it.” I was researching potential events for one of our European clients to attend. One event that took place in UAE had a disclaimer stating: “No women are allowed to attend the event.” The feminist inside of me raged. I thought it was unethical, and I did not want to add this event to the list. BUT this was a norm in the UAE, and I had to respect it, even if I personally did not agree with it.
When it comes to cultural differences you may not always agree, you may think they’re weird, but then again, they may think you’re the weird one. When working for a global organization you have to keep an open mind, and have mutual understanding and mutual respect for different cultures.
❤ Best experience ever.
Thank you Barcelona!