My Go to Advice: “Go live in another country for a year or two”

Now given the title of this post, you may be thinking that this is the worst advice I’ve ever read and what would this advice solve?

I have moved a total of six times, and lived in three different countries, and when I was younger I used to absolutely hate it.  Constantly moving schools, leaving friends to make new ones, and parting with family was definitely not an easy thing to do.  But, all of these experiences gave me characteristics I didn’t realize I had until a few years ago when I moved overseas again; it gave me global perspective, interpersonal skills, confidence, advanced adaptability, and a story. 

“My go to advice” is not meant to actually be said casually in a conversation with a friend but is meant to highlight that moving to a different country intensifies your personal development because it leaves you in one of the most vulnerable places one can – alone and unfamiliar with your surroundings.  When you are put in such a vulnerable state you begin to learn what you truly value and what matters in your life, gain confidence in yourself as you recognize it must be you who initiates contact with other people, you learn to know the type of people you want to be friends with and build connections, and most importantly you learn how strenuous the difficulty of breaking through culture shock is and how you can adapt yourself to find a fit.

The workplace is becoming more diverse than ever, calling for increased adaptability in corporate culture and employees.  Many businesses already implement workshops centred around many key areas including improvement in adaptability, innovation, personal and professional development, etc.  But imagine what the workplace would be like if every employee had been immersed in a different country and culture before?  Having all employees experience an extended amount of time immersed in a different country and out of their comfort zone would enhance acceptance, understanding of others, global perspective, and cultural intelligence among employees, hopefully aiding in a more adaptive, welcoming, and innovative workplace and community.   

Having said this, I am aware that it is next to impossible to enforce or only hire employees who have international relocation experience, so it is unrealistic.  But, it is just meant to draw attention to what business could be like if employees jumped extremely outside of their comfort zone every once in a while.

We should all take a giant leap out of our comfort zone no matter how small, as it always leads to broadened opportunities and personal progression.

Victoria Hellyer, Corporate Relations