2016 – A short review

The year of 2016 has been a year full of surprises ! Good one but also bad ones!

I would like to have a thought for those we have lost this year, they have brought us joy and happiness, have been great examples for me and will be dearly missed. That was one of the worst part of my year 2016, but as we say, life goes one, and we need to deal with grief and move on.

2016 was also very surprising, Britain has voted to leave th EU and follow through with Brexit, Donal Trump was elected the president of the United States of America, and the conflict in Syria doesn´t seem to come to an end and many civilians, especially children are dying. All of us have been shocked, there is no doubt about it, and have dealt with these events in their own way. Racism has risen quite strongly as well unfortunately, for those of us living in the UK but also throughout the world, it felt like a betrayal, but at the end of the day, we are living in the UK and even if we believe it is not the right thing to do, to leave the EU, we accept the decision of our hosts and will make sure that we continue to contribute to the UK economy.

dsc05199

 One thing which is clear is that all of this is pointing to a much bigger problem, acceptance of one another, respect of one another and problems on a much larger scale.

I don´t know if some of you have felt the same, but work has been more scarce this year, already it started declining when the announcement of the referendum here in the UK was made, but it seems that globally, we are going through a tough phase. There are always tough phases, and that is what enables us to think outside of the box, look at things from a different perspective, reflect ! I took the opportunity to do a course in nutrition for example to help coach people to live a healthier life, this kind of follows what I do as a whole, helping people adapt, live a purposeful life and a happy life wherever they are in the world.

I am positive that 2017 will bring new ventures, projects and will be richer in projects than 2016 was, hopefully cultural consciousness will become a topic of interest to all, and most importantly in politics, at work and in daily life. And hopefully we won´t lose loved ones too, we know it is part of life but that is a very tough one.

So to resume, a not so great year, finishing on a positive though, and looking ahead to a new year where people will take interest in one another, resolve conflicts and hopefully more cultural consciousness and acceptance in the world. 2017 will be about building bridges !

Thank you and wishing you all a lovely holiday,

Please share you reflections with us.

 

Categories: Refflections | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Culture Shock after Brexit Decision

This week-end, after the results of Brexit, must have been a very difficult week-end for a lot of People, and I would like to share not only what I went through but what some of my fellow European and pro Remain British friends may have gone through too.

I am Intercutural Consultant and I help expatriate and global managers adapt to their new environment. By helping them adapt we always mention the Culture Shock curve that has five stages: Excitement, Denial & Depression, Culture Shock, Acceptance and Acculturation. The last time I went through the Culture Shock curve was when I moved to Singapore 10 years ago !

Over the course of this week-end I went through the first two phases and am heading towards culture shock.

The excitement Phase was before the Referendum results, I think most of us were positive that the UK would vote remain and thus demonstrate that we are a strong Europe and that Europeans are part of the British folk. When the results came down on friday morning, and I woke up at 5:30am to see the results, I couldn´t believe that Brexit had passed, I was in complete denial, I just couldn´t wrap my head around it although I had a feeling that it might happen but again my excitement at the time was stronger. I accepted in a  way the decision of the British public as I live in their Country and I need to accept their wishes but trust me I still felt a bit out-of-place especially going out for dinner in the evening. The atmosphere felt colder than usual, but then I just put that on the account of my own projections.

The rest of the week-end was the depression phase, waking up in tears not knowing what the future will bring, especially working as a freelance Consultant and delivering Trainings to mostly European expats as to how to integrate in the UK, so that was a big shock ! What will I do ? I thought I would spend the rest of my life here, I have friends which are now my Family, I have a home that I bought, i have a car, what will that mean? What does the future hold?

I also had a few talks over the week-end with a few Young British People and asked them what they thought of Brexit and a lot were shocked and angry. They said they were “Europeans” and not British citizens, what will happen for their future and their kid´s future? They won´t have the opportunity to have work experience abroad, travel, learn languages and go abroad to train themselves, so Overall a big shock.

When I spoke to European friends and colleagues most felt betrayed, stabbed in the back, not welcomed and are also fearing for their future.

We all know that nothing major will happen over the next two years and that as Europeans we will be able to stay, what will be the conditions after though? I think the acceptance phase after the shock is that one way or another if there are no Jobs, I/ we will have to move back to Europe, and I think this is what our culture shock is about, leaving a beautiful country, our friends, our lives.

For now however we need to wait and see and try to get out of the shock phase to get on with our lives.

I would love for fellow colleagues, Europeans or British citizens to share their view and how they coped with the Brexit decision.

Best

Nadege Welsch

Be-a-chameleon

Categories: Culture Shock | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Brexit 

Hi all,

We all have woken up with the sad news that the British public has voted to leave the European Union. We have to respect the public’s vote even if we disagree with it and trust that the UK has a prosperous future ahead !

Now, I am a European citizen and have been living in the UK, London for the last 8 years ! I know that I will not be told to leave London or get outed from the UK, and I trust there will be a plan to make me feel safe and welcomed in this country.

 It will all take time to get in place and of course economically it will be a tough time for the UK but if we can, as Europeans living in the UK and being granted the right to stay we want to help in shaping the UKs future ! Whether it is within or out of the European Union.

In these last year I have been able to buy and live in a beautiful flat, I have been given work, paid my taxes, contributed to the economy and have earned the trust of my employers which enables me to build my reputation and I am positive that the good work and relationships will continue. 


So I understand frustrations, but we need to put ourselves in the British people’s shoes and understand that there are things which do not work for them by being part of the European Union and that’s fine, we need to accept it, because we live here 🙂 we have been given the privilege to excel and have work and meet amazing people with whom we have built relationships and this will remain ! We just need to all make sure, Europeans but also British that power hungry politicians do not impose their agendas to move forward but listen to what the people want and focus on unity, respect and peace.

So yes, I am very sad about the UK leaving the EU but everything happens for a reason and I am positive that as a resident since the last 8 years I will still be welcomed to remain here, and if not then I will leave with a great experience of having lived in an amazing country.

Thank you Britain for the fantastic years and hopefully there will be more to come !

Sincerely yours,

Nadege

Be-a-Chameleon

Categories: Travel | 2 Comments

Mentoring a young professional

About a year ago I was made aware by a friend of mine that a charity was looking for Mentors.

I had never been a Mentor before and was interested in learning more about what the charity was doing and how I could be of help. 2nd Chance (2ndchanceuk.org) is a charity that offers young people who haven´t had had the chance to study or succeed in life, and between the ages of 18 and 24 to get back up and start their career. The aim of the Mentoring was to help a young person succeed in the workplace but also keep their job. I was sold and couldn´t wait to start my journey.

I met with my mentee, a very interetsing young lady who was very different from me, at first I thought that it was a funny match as I am more of a reserved person, quiet, observing and my mentee was louder, extraverted and active. But I thought, ok if they have matched us it´s that there is a reason. So we met the first time within the premises of 2nd Chance and were provided; as Mentor; with a program, support sheet, to help us create a bond with our mentee.

After the offcial meet i scheduled another meet with my mentee, we went a bit back and forth with it, lack of time on her side, or maybe was it lack of interest? I didn´t know at the time 🙂 After a few back and forth we finally met and i decided to listen to what she had to say and just be there for her, what was she expecting from me, what did she need and what did she want to take out of the mentorship.

What came out was that she didn´t want a mentor, she didn´t want someone who would kind of control or make sure she does the right thing, actually she said she felt pushed to have a mentor. So I accepted her perspective and we started talking about her life, her and what her aspirations were and how she could achieve her goals.

After that session we met again and again and again, the moral of the story though is that she needed to be heard, she needed to get her private life sorted, have someone to hear her, give her advice, someone with positive outlooks, there for her when she needed and today I can say that I am extremely proud of what she has achieved. She has her life sorted, or at least what can be sorted out, she has a job since 6 months which she has kept and she is very inspiring !

She is very strong, and she has shown me resilience, shown me that if you want you can do it, she was flexible, she listened and most of all, she made it ! I hope she keeps being so positive and so good at what she does, she opened my eyes and taught me that when there is a will there is a way, and that even if you had a bad start in life, you can still make it when surrounded and supported by the right people !

I enjoyed the Mentoring so much that I signed up for another year and another mentee !

I would recommend this journey, if you are based in London, do check 2nd Chance out, you could make a difference and learn a lot about yourself but also learn from these young people.

I am very grateful to them.

Categories: Intercultural relations, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel, a way to reconnect with yourself

After a long wait, I have finally found the time to travel back to South East Asia and Australia to visit friends and family. I really missed traveling, that said when one works it is not always easy to take time out and venture on such a long trip, but this year was about reconnecting, so Singapore and Australia here I come.

On my way to Australia I stopped for a few days in Singapore. I used to live there for about a year and a half 8 years ago, and my goodness does the city change. It is so fascinating when you come back to identify the changes, observe the people and walk through the streets you used to walk through with fresh eyes and new perspectives.

I wasn´t in Singapore for long so I could not visit everyone but one thing which is always fantastic for me and so close to my heart is to meet up with my great local friends that always take time out to spend time with me and continue teaching me about Singaporean culture. I cannot thank them enough for this, and to be honest it is such a treat and honour, I really hope some of you have such great friends that never cease to teach you about their culture !

My Singapore stop was thus reconnecting with friends, with my previous life here and to be honest I really felt like a Singaporean, there is something about having lived in a city that makes you a part of it, such a wonderful feeling. My two days in Singapore were done and I was now flying to Sydney where my sister was waiting for me.

I stayed in Sydney and surroundings for about two weeks and a half, and in these two weeks and a half I ventured out every day with my camera under my arm to discover new areas, new sites and new perspectives. I had been in Australia in 1999 and in 2009 and everytime I go back i always feel this positive energy from nature and being so close to the ocean. Very invigorating and resourcing. This time around I was privileged to be invited in my sister´s boyfriend family´s house, i got to spend two days in an Australian home and it was amazing. I learned more about the culture, about the family dynamics but also how people perceive life and that again provided me with new perspectives and ways of looking at life and the world which is very important for my learning but also teaching in the intercultural field.

After my two weeks and a half away i felt re-energised, revitalized and full of new ideas which I hope I can share with my clients, colleagues, friends and family.

The moral of this story is that traveling does open up our minds more and even if you have lived or visited a place before, you always find and discover something new when you come back and your roots and belonging to that one culture you left a few years back continues to grow when you come back and resync with your past experiences.

PS.: If you like the pictures you see they are available on: http://chameleonpictures.zenfolio.com/  – you can find more pictures of other destinations under all photographs: http://chameleonpictures.zenfolio.com/f583482853

And if you need any support as an expatriate, repatriate or global nomad, feel free to contact us: http://www.be-a-chameleon.com, thank you

 

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The concept of multiculturation

 

When you first move to another country as an expatriate or an immigrant, you start your international journey by being “ethnocentric”. What we mean by that is that until now, you only have had experience with people from your own culture and with colleagues or friends from other cultures, so you tend to perceive things according to your own cultural values and beliefs.

Once you reach your new destination, you start discovering that the culture in which you are now is different, and you go through many different stages, there are 7 stages.

The first stage is ethnocentricity, so we see things according to our own values and beliefs, but we are in a new country and we start recognizing that there are differences. This is the second stage we go through, awareness that things are different in our new destination and that the culture we now live in has different values.

The third stage leads us to understanding, we have now spent a few months in our new country and have surrounded ourselves with locals and have discovered many things about how to communicate with them and about the local culture, so we are in the understanding phase.

Sometimes you may experience that some of the cultural values of your host country do not meet yours, this is perfectly normal, it is a period of adaptation and understanding and this phase is called acceptance that there are differences between both cultures.

Once you accept the differences between your culture and your host culture you enter the appreciation phase. This phase is about recognizing that certain aspects of the new culture are appealing to you. For example, I have had clients that told me that after 6 months in the UK, they really appreciated the order and the fact that people were not very loud and that when they got back to their home Country it annoyed them. So there are many things that one can appreciate from another culture.

The next stage is the selective adoptation, so after a while you will take some of the new cultural values into your own values, it could be little things such as more order or Organisation in your life, a collectivistic approach to your colleagues and the people around (caring about each other and watching out for each other). I like to think that everywhere we go we take something away with us, we always keep a little piece of the country we have lived in with us.

And the last stage of course is multiculturation, where you feel that your values are a mix of your own culture and the cultures you have lived in and you feel like you belong to the world, and would be confortable anywhere in the world.

 

Categories: Intercultural relations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Working in a multi-cultural team

pcm03 pcm04

Working in multi-cultural Teams whether face to face or virtually is becoming a given today. Indeed, through globalisation and relocation of businesses across the globe we are faced with the reality that the person we are likely to work with in our team will be from a different culture.

But what does that entail ?

As you can imagine there are advantages as well as disadvantages. Remember that we see the world through our own cultural lens, and the person working alongside us may see it from his/ her cultural lens, so this may mean that these two views may differ. If we look at it as a disadvantage this would mean that there would be miscommunication between the different parties, different expectations and different understandings of status/ hierarchy which could lead the Team to underperform. On the other hand if we look at it from a positive side, i.e. as an advantage it would mean that bringing these different views together would give a bigger picture and thus more solutions to a problem and thus more creativity. Hence a higher performance.

But how do we get team members to work well together ?

To get team members to work well, these should understand that they come from different cultures and have different views and expectations, Another important issue here is language as well;  although we all speak English, we may actually not understand each other because of accents or vocabulary that we use, and examples could be that a member of a team is perceived as rude because he/ she is crude in what he/ she says. But this may be due to the lack of vocabulary or because he/she is not as comfortable with his/ her English as you may be! It is the same with humour, although humour is used to relax atmosphere it can be perceived as offensive by someone else if they do not understand sarcasm or your joke and vice-versa.

So when working face to face with colleagues from a different culture always listen actively, if you do not understand what they mean or say just ask for clarifications, if you feel that you are treated in a certain way, raise the issue and discuss it to not let frustration disturb the team dynamic; and from time to time get together and talk about each other´s cultures to understand one another better !

When you work virtually, the difference will be when you work with relationship based cultures such as Asian or Latin cultures. Today we communicate a lot by phone and Skype, but sometimes it is easier for us to just pick up the phone and call our colleagues at the other end of the world. Now experience has shown that for relationship based cultures, phone calls are not enough to build a relationship amongst team members. To build trust and relationships, it is best to use Skype or Video conferencing which will create a face to face relationship and probably enhance the team performance. Just try it out and see how powerful it can be and how quick it can change the relationships between team members and thus increase performance and bond within the team.

Also do feel free to contact us to know more or if you have tips to share, please do comment !

Categories: Intercultural relations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to have a successful expatriation

1091624_success_succeed_business_money_sign 1097321_happiness

Being told that you are going to be relocated to a new country may not be easy especially if you were not expecting it !

By training expatriates coming to the UK, I have seen that many were happy but also many entered the UK already with a culture shock ! Why is that ?

The problem with relocations is that we either get hooked on them and look forward to moving to the next place after 3 years or we can get attached to the current country we are in and do not wish to leave.

In the latter case, so if we settled well in the country we are currently in, enjoy the culture and the country it feels alarming to move to a new one. We have to go through the process once again, we need to settle in, learn about the  new culture, leave our friends and family behind once again, and we are getting a little tired. This is one side of the culture shock we may be going through. Another aspect of the culture would be that we have already been in the new country and have experienced very bad things there which have stuck to our minds and hinder us from moving in a positive light ! This happens to some of us, and it is not a good state to be in as we shut ourselves down, duck our heads and just wait for the next assignment to come !

How do we deal with these issues if we are already in culture shock when we arrive to our new country ?

The best is to start afresh, bad experiences happen, and sometimes they are lessons life throw´s at us, we just need to see past them, and perceive them as a lesson rather than a constant which will happen again. The best is to reflect on what happened previously or why it is one is in shock ! If you are in shock because you didn´t want to move, make sure you surround yourself with positive people as these people will show you the beautiful side of your new location and will lift up your spirits ! Because if you surround yourself with people who think the same way then your culture shock will most probably last the entire duration of your assignment and make your life miserable !

So the point is, when in shock, try to identify why it is that you are in that state:  if it is because of a bad experience, try to study this experience and put it into perspective. Once you have identified what is causing your shock, try to see what you could do to reduce it ! Meet new people, surround yourself with positive people, talk to your colleagues, your family, find a coach or a trainer with whom you can discuss it !

Once you have overcome this stage, you will be ready for an exiting time in your assignment, you will enjoy life more, your work and your new country !

Once last thing would be to keep fit, find a routine so that your mind doesn´t wonder off too much, as the mind is our worst enemy in culture shock cases !

 

All the best of luck, and if you need any help, or have examples, feel free to share or contact us !

Categories: Culture Shock | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Reconnecting with a culture you have left

I came back to Madrid after about 8 years. I had spent the best year of my life there studying for a master and making great friends from Latin America which I am visiting on this journey !

I have to say after one day in Madrid I found my inner madrilene again and walked around Madrid on auto pilot remembering the good days and nights that I have had in this amazing city !!

Nothing has really changed except for some places I used to go that closed, but just a minority of them !!

When we have been an expat in a country we always take a part of that country s culture with us ! And I realized it even more this time ! It just took me half a day to become madrilene again !!

Please share if you have had similar experiences !!!

20130905-134345.jpg

20130905-134355.jpg

20130905-134413.jpg

20130905-134423.jpg

20130905-134430.jpg

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Cultural Consciousness Workshop, 22nd June 2013 in London

Dear All,

It is with great pleasure that we would like to announce the launch of our Cultural Consciousness workshop in London on Saturday 22nd June 2013 from 9:30 to 16:30.

FlyerCulturalConsciousness

Click here to view the Flyer

Cultural Consciousness: communicate effectively across cultures

  • Do you work internationally with international clients, in intercultural teams?
  • Do you coach international leaders?

We communicate daily with people from different cultures whether it is in our work or in our private life. And sometimes we may find it hard to communicate and do business with them.

Why is that?

We are shaped by our own culture in how perceive the world and how we communicate. We all see the world through different lenses and the Cultural Consciousness workshop is here to help you identify how you perceive the world and provide you with the tools that will enable you to succeed in the global arena.

Why Cultural Consciousness?

“Real adaptation comes from within and starts with understanding who we are”

Being culturally conscious means understanding where we come from and how we see the world. Identifying who we are gives us the opportunity to open our mind to differences and thus be more open to different perspectives and ways of communicating.

This workshop will give you practical tools that will enable you to excel in international business and help reduce your stress and anxieties towards the unknown enabling you to become more comfortable around different cultures and succeed in your business or in your team.

“Amazing experience, super useful, full of practical tools,

never thought I could get so much in just one day“

(Marie Claire, expat Singapore)

The workshop will take place on Saturday 22nd June 2013 from 9:30 to 16:30 in London at the following venue:

Evolve Wellness Center

10 Kendrick Mews

SW7 3HG London (closest tube station is South Kensington)

The fee for this one day workshop will be GBP 130.

There is a special offer if you come with a colleague:  GBP 200 for two.

Book your place now as there are limited spaces – contact us at info@be-a-chameleon.com to book your space

Categories: Intercultural relations, Workshop | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.