Are you one of the students not knowing what Cultural Awareness means and how important it is for your future work? We are living in a multi-cultural environment and your colleagues or superiors will be for sure from a different culture. Success in working relationship comes from understanding your own and their culture. It comes from your ability to truly build rapport.
You grew up cruising through the internet like an astronaut. And you are probably in touch with friends on Facebook who are from many different countries. But may I ask you, how often during your studies you came across people from different backgrounds and you reallyengaged with them? Or did you prefer to stick to your group of friends from the same country?
Being truly global aware means you have Intercultural Competence Skills, meaning you know understand first and foremost your own values. Having that skill, you become much more open, interactive and a great listener. All of these are also important leadership skills. Your understanding of others means you don’t blame them for doing things differently, e.g. the Spaniards are not rude for not queuing, they just didn’t grow up with this value. You also start reconsidering the game of “Who is right?”
People with Cultural Awareness are more proactive and open to learn from the other, experiencing all the differences and sharing their own culture as something curious instead of holding back and reacting to an unknown behaviour causing conflict or avoidance.
A truly Culturally Aware individual instead of dropping into classic isolationist and stereotyping any experience, would develop long lasting relationships which is vital for career success.
"Employers are looking for graduates who can demonstrate softer skills such as teamworking, cultural awareness, leadership and communication skills, as well as academic achievement,“ says Carl Gilleard, AGR chief executive (Association of Graduate Recruitment).
Author: Sabina Rademacher, Global Citizen Project