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Monday, May 21, 2018

The secret to working overseas, by Maddy Savage (from BBC CAPITAL)

Is cultural knowledge more important than language skills?

Does cultural knowledge trump language ability in international companies and start-ups where English is dominating?

Learning the local language might seem an obvious goal for anyone moving abroad. But in an increasingly globalised world, whether this is an effective use of time is increasingly up for debate.

Growing numbers of multinationals and start-ups are adopting English as their official company language, even if they’re not based in an English-speaking nation. And internationally, millennials seem to have a much higher tolerance for using the global language than older generations, meaning it’s potentially easier to socialise with young locals by speaking English than in the past. The British Council estimates that by 2020, two billion people will be using it, well over a quarter of the world’s population.

Plus, while the idea that millennials are job-hopping much more than their parents is something of a myth, being able to work flexibly in different locations remains a core goal for many. In 2017, the Global Shapers Annual Survey, funded by the World Economic Forum, showed that 81% of respondents aged 18 to 35 from over 180 countries said they were willing to work abroad. The “ability to work and live anywhere” was one of the most important factors they identified in terms of making them feel freer in their society. (Continue reading)

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