Category: Intercultural communication

Multicultural Meetings: Do you speak up?

As children, we’re often to taught to use our words, speak our minds. At the same time, we’re taught to be polite and not interrupt others when they’re speaking. This can be confusing for us as adults, especially in the world of work. Especially at meetings, even more so at multicultural meetings. Even more so … les mer

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Integration in Norway: Mimicking or mocking a foreign accent?

Was I a victim of prejudicial accent bullying? Or am I being overly sensitive and over the top dramatic (read: ridiculous)? First: It happened again just yesterday. Hearing the doorbell ring down the hall at work, I’d gone to open up for a man arriving for a meeting with one of my office neighbors. Showing … les mer

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Integration as International Business: Are you the buyer or the seller?

When I was teaching at a regional business school several years ago, we used a book called Cross-Cultural Business Behavior by Richard Gesteland. The first chapter outlines what the author calls ‘the two iron rules of international business’. The first of these: “The seller must adapt to the buyer.” So during a recent session of … les mer

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Tell me: What’s the short version of your (working) life?

Have you ever thought about practicing how to tell someone about what you do at work? When holding courses for foreign-born people like myself who are working in Norway, I advise them to practice and perform giving the short version of their life story. Why the short version? Because you should be aware that when … les mer

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Here’s Looking at You, Norway…and Norden

Is Oscar Wilde’s phrase about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery true? Was he referring to individuals, or can we stretch it to talk about countries? A year ago I wanted to find a new topic for my course takers to discuss during class that would involve talking about working in Norway. But we’d … les mer

‘So Why Is Norway Rich?’: Falling Into the (Easy) Tabloid Trap

Talk about journalistic bait and switch. Maybe I should just stay away from the tabloids for awhile. To explain: Working and living in Norway as we do, we’re in the understandable habit of watching and reading our homegrown media sources such as TV channels and newspapers/webpages. But sometimes it’s intriguing to learn about how others … les mer

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Understanding the Underground: Why Foreign Speakers Sometimes Can’t Stop Speaking

“But do you know what: I am convinced that we underground folk ought to be kept on a curb. Though we may sit forty years underground without speaking, when we do come out into the light of day and break out we talk and talk and talk….”  Notes from Underground (F. Dostoyevsky) It doesn’t happen often, … les mer

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Skype Meetings: You Can’t Run and You Can’t Hide

The other day I was signed up to teach a group of people working in Norway how to make a high-quality presentation in English after learning my tips of the trade about how to perform well in front of a large audience. Or so I thought. When questioned further in an advance e-mail sent out … les mer

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When Your Foreign Best Isn’t Good Enough: Transferring Higher Education Across Borders

One of the most difficult aspects of moving abroad can be having the education you completed in your home country rejected by your new country. Am using the strong verb ‘rejected’ on purpose, as while the educational authorities do not express it that way in the letter they send out to inform you of just … les mer

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You Win Some You Lose Some: Non-Native Partners of Non-Native/Native Workers Playing the New Friendship Game

When going through the phase of adjusting to living in a new, foreign culture, it’s not always the foreign worker who struggles the most. After all, it is they who have landed the fulltime job and who can spend their days at their new workplace with, simply put, something to do and someone to see. … les mer

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