Globalization is changing the way we interact with the world. Instead of being limited to the places we live, we have the option of working or attending school from almost anywhere we choose—providing we can get there first, of course! Start saving now and you could be in the mountains of Chile or the beaches of Thailand in less time than you might think. Provided you have a way of making a living remotely and a place to call home base, you’ll have your basic needs met.
Living in another country while immersed in a completely different language and culture can be both challenging and exhilarating—not to mention good for even more international job prospects, if you’re willing to learn a second or third language. Read on to learn a few pointers about how it’s done, from people who are already experts at geographical fluidity.
Do Your Research
Before you go anywhere, be sure you do plenty of research to narrow down your parameters while widening your horizons. Try watching films set in far-away places or reading books that are both educational and entertaining, in order to learn more about countries of interest. Research what others have to say about living abroad in Europe, as well as traveling around different parts of South America, for example.
Also, be sure to remember there is quite a big difference between traveling abroad, working abroad, and moving abroad! The work permits, visas, and guidelines for the length of your stay will vary depending on the country, so be sure to read up on the subject before making any concrete plans. However, working remotely and internationally—also known as being a ‘digital nomad’—is fast-becoming “a thing,” so do some research and consider your options!
Professional Online Etiquette
Sometimes it’s easy to forget we are in the professional sphere while communicating with others, online—especially if we are enrolled in a continuing education program to help further our careers. This is partially because so much of the coursework is submitted without ever stepping foot inside a classroom. However, there are certain basic guidelines that will help anyone exhibit better etiquette in an online learning environment or remote work situation.
First, consider how others will perceive you, whenever posting anything in online chat rooms or academic forums. Take time to proofread your spelling and grammar, and remember that tone is sometimes difficult to detect without the assistance of body language and facial expressions. Second, try to use language in a very concise and focused way—leaving out random, outlying thoughts that are unrelated to the point you are trying to make. The more clearly you communicate information to others, the better. Third, always be polite and professional, and be sure to allow others to respond to your points. And finally, when participating in video conferences, be sure to dress professionally and set up your computer in an area that is free of clutter and distractions.
Virtual, Global Team-Building
As you learn more about becoming a global citizen and employee, consider some of the personal characteristics that successful global team members have in common. According to Dr. Joel Paul Ginsburg, it’s important to feel at ease with new technologies, possess strong communication skills, and exhibit a palpable level of dedication to a company’s common goals. Moreover, a strong sense of diplomacy and cultural fluidity, as well as a high level of internal motivation, are crucial to successful virtual team building.
In fact, trust is probably the most oft-cited factor when it comes to successful virtual teams, so it’s crucial that managers are skilled in the art of keeping a healthy relationship with their employees. Part of building that trust involves making time for team-building and one-on-ones, as well as team conference calls and video chats that allow everyone to be involved—whether they’re in or out of the office for the day. With global team members, there are always options such as electronic signatures, vlogs, and recorded conference calls, in case someone happens to live in a vastly different time zone. Furthermore, Google documents and group chat platforms allow for ongoing conversations that don’t need to take place in real time in order to be effective.
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Are you in the process of planning a move abroad—either temporarily or for a longer period of time? What are your experiences with being part of a virtual, online team or classroom? What are some advantages that a global company has over a traditional, in-person office culture?
Image Source: Isabel Sommerfeld