Travel Blog

Living in a Foreign Country

Living in a Foreign CountryWorking and living in a foreign country can be exciting and rewarding while at the same time both you and your family will learn a great deal about how other cultures live,  work and play. With a little planning and knowledge of a foreign countries culture and way of doing business your time in the foreign country can be very successful and  rewarding as well.

Investing and Living in a Foreign Country

Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when you’re planning to do business and contemplate living in a foreign country.

Always investigate the number of state-owned companies and privately owned companies in the sphere of business that you plan to operate. Every culture is different and has a different view of when to do business.

  • Confirm the general business hours of your company as well as a country that you will be living
  • Confirm when lunch usually runs and how long business lunches are typically.
  • Management contracts  and negotiations and
  • Social activity away from the job context.

Male-female relationships are often handled differently than your own country both on and off the job. Be very careful how you view female to male relationships in a foreign country. Investigate how and when you should use titles and surnames in business, in private situations as well as in public situations.

How to Deal with Hierarchies

Every company as well as society evaluates people by their hierarchy in their business context. You should try to understand both if you will be the host in your country and your position. Understand what the view is and how you should handle yourself in private life versus public life.

You may find that your working space is quite different from the working space that you had in your home country. Check with other in country expats to confirm standards.

Etiquette, protocol and dress code

Multinational companies and most business people are accustomed to dealing with foreigners. There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Should you shake hands with everyone present in a group, both upon arrival and upon departure
  • At first acquaintance should you exchange business cards at the beginning of a meeting as an introduction or at the end.
  • Confirm the expectation with regards to punctuality and attending meetings
  • In many countries, meetings often begin when the main interested parties have arrived
  • Confirm the dress code for the company that you work with and where you will be conducting business
  • Evaluate when pressure for responses are acceptable and whether it should be subtle or direct
  • In many countries the prerequisite for success in business is to meet for drinks with your colleagues after work.
  • Often during business lunches, subjects of general interest will probably precede the subject of work.
  • If you’re a senior executive, it may be appropriate to invite your staff home  or to a local bar for drinks.
  • If you’re invited to a social gathering you may want to find out whether it is acceptable to accept the invitation or reject it
  • Giving a gift within many cultures is interpreted in many ways. Always investigate when and how you should provide a gift
  • In many countries things are not necessarily as they appear. There will be a method and legitimate way of getting things done in spite of bureaucracy and regulations.

Checklist for living in a foreign country

  • Obtain telephone numbers and addresses of all global hotels shopping centers and service agencies
  • Investigate if there are any special precautions to be taken with regard to food
  • Investigate if there are any special precautions to be taken with respect to drinking the local water
  • Obtain addresses and telephone numbers for local restaurants
  • Obtain telephone numbers and addresses of theaters and museums

Check out personal security requirements

Security in every country, especially in large cities should be taken very seriously. Use common sense in avoiding risky situations, remember that you are in a busy city.

Avoid, especially at night, carrying valuable jewelry or carrying valuable objects. Try to remember that the assailant is probably as scared as you are and it will not hurt you if you give in to what he is asking for. If you see someone who has run into trouble, do not interfere, but try making plenty of noise to frighten the attacker away.

Avoid places such as tunnels, quiet alleyways, jostling crowds and dark corners. Stay away from the beaches at night and stay away from any slums at anytime of the day. You must investigate the expected behavior between women and men in your host country. You should also investigate social etiquette and protocol. Understand the laws regarding alcohol, drugs and nightlife.

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