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Navigating Workplace Harmony: A Guide to Managing Cultural Differences as an Expat Partner


Meet Maria, a 33-year-old Mexican expat partner, a mother and one of our amazing Absolus 😀, whose journey transcends borders, cultures, and professional landscapes. In 2021, she embarked on her first expatriation to France with her 5-year-old son, following her husband who relocated for work.

Facing the challenges of adapting to a new culture while seeking employment, Maria's journey in 2022 led to securing a job, marking the beginning of her unique experience in navigating cultural differences in the workplace.

Her story serves as a testament to the transformative power of skills and strategies needed to thrive in a foreign country as an expatriate or expat partner. 🛫💼




Are you an expat partner like Maria, worried about how you will manage in a foreign company?

Well, you don't need to worry because you are about to discover these skills and strategies through Maria’s real-life experiences in this article, sprinkled with a dash of humor.


Embarking on a Journey as an Expat Partner: Maria's Real-Life Experiences

Embrace Cultural Awareness 🌏🤝:

Maria introduced her French colleagues to the Mexican tradition of 'Día de los Muertos', complete with traditional sweets. She joked, "In Mexico, we celebrate the dead with more color and sweets than most countries do the living!" Her colleagues then shared their traditional Advent calendar, which they had made themselves for Christmas.


Proactive Communication 🗣️🌐:

Learning to navigate the French love for formal greetings, Maria mastered the art of the perfect 'Bonjour' and 'Merci', often playfully reminding her colleagues, "In Mexico, we say it with tacos!"


Network and Build Relationships 🤝👥:

Maria's Mexican-themed lunch at work was a hit. She humorously noted, "Who knew that tacos could be the universal language of friendship?" and also learn that wine in French is absolutely necessary to make friends!


Leverage Your Unique Perspective 🌐💡:

Maria suggested a 'global insights' session at her job, sharing, "In Mexico, we don't just bring problems to the table; we bring solutions... and sometimes, enchiladas."


Stay Adaptable 🤸‍♀️🔄:

Adjusting to the French work-life balance, Maria learned the importance of 'la pause déjeuner', quipping, "In France, lunch breaks are sacred, almost as sacred as siestas are to us Mexicans!"


Seek Cultural Sensitivity Training 📚🌐:

Participating in a workshop on French business etiquette, what you can do or not. Maria humorously observed, "In France, two kisses on the cheek is business casual; in Mexico, it's how you greet your best friend."


Embrace Language Learning 🗣️📚:

Maria took business French classes, often joking with her husband, "Now I can argue in French and Mexican style – with passion and precision!"


Balance Professional and Personal Identity ⚖️🌐:

While embracing French culture, Maria maintained her Mexican identity, sharing, "I'm teaching my son to say 'Oui' with a Mexican accent – cultural fusion at its finest!"


To sum it up 🌟🌐:

Maria's journey of managing cultural differences in the workplace as an expat partner is a story of discovery, adaptation, and humor. By embracing cultural awareness, fostering open communication, and actively participating in workplace activities, she not only adapted but thrived in her professional environment. Each cultural difference presents an opportunity for learning, laughing, and building bridges, contributing to workplaces that celebrate diversity and inclusivity. 🌈👩‍💼


One big tip for you: if you want people to be interested in you, start asking them questions. It’s the best way to discover this new culture and then you could add your own touch! Enjoy it!


Journey continues…. Maria is set to move again. We wish her all the best for her new adventure.

Have you encountered cultural challenges and difficulties in your expatriate journey? How did you manage to cope up? Feel free to share your stories in the comments.


You can also write to us : absolutely-talented@absolutely-french.eu




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