Sunday, June 29, 2014

Internet & internationalization: A Window to the World

In the era of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter we actually have become global citizen. The virtual travel is very much possible. Different people, nationalities must have in your friend list. Do you like to learn from them? How you do your research on Google about different countries and culture?   

Is it important to know the world in which we live and learn about far-away lands? What is the impact of acquiring knowledge about other countries and cultures and becoming a "window to the world"? If we develop an attitude of learning about others and an open mind in our interactions with other cultures, we are taking another key step towards success.  

All of us — whether we are able to travel because of our jobs or through our own finances or we are unable to leave our homes, cities or countries but travel through internet-cyberspace — can be "windows to the world." 

A Means of Communication 

A window not only allows air and light to enter a house; it may also reveal the wonders outside to those inside. A window is a means of communication and every human being should become a "window" within his or her family, people, and culture. 
From our homes, we can become virtual travellers, using the Internet to expand our cultural horizons. We can learn more about other countries perhaps by placing a world map on the wall in our room or office and focusing on a new country for a period of time. We can familiarize ourselves with each country's geographic shape, politics, culture, cuisine, religions, important places, economy and flag. We can mark the map to show each country to which we have “travelled." 

Prepare before you travel 

Those of us who travel physically can prepare before our travels by reading a good book about the place or places we plan to visit. We can also take along an album of good photos of our family, a good book with photos of our country, and some small but valuable gifts that communicate something about our country and ourselves to the people we plan to meet in our travels. 

The right attitude 

But the most important element to become a "window to the world" is our attitude, our way of thinking, feeling and acting when we interact with people from lands and cultures different from our own. 
Here's an acrostic for the word RESPECT, listing the seven key areas we need to master to become a "window to the world." We can develop these skills if we want to raise our poly-cultural quotients and become more effective in international relations. 

  • Respect: Recognize the differences among countries and cultures, but avoid the tendency to criticize based on our own reality. Ask tactfully and politely about what looks different in order to learn. Never say something is “bad,” “wrong,” “dirty” or the like. 
  • Elasticity: Develop the ability to open yourself to something new, to be flexible, to sample a new food or try a new dance, to sing a country song, to visit an open market, and to dare to try new things. 
  • Synergy: Seek a flow in your relations with people from other cultures. Remember that when we unite our talents with those of others different from us, the result is greater than the sum of the parts. Synergy multiplies results and prevents unnecessary conflicts. 
  • Purpose: Establish a clear purpose when you travel or interact with someone from another culture to ensure the relationship flows harmoniously and everyone benefits from the interaction. 
  • Emotions: Foster nourishing emotions, such as serenity and joy, to ensure any trip or inter-cultural relationship is productive. 
  • Care: Plan and organize your meetings with people from other nationalities or cultures with care to ensure the effectiveness of those encounters. Take time to show you care. 
  • Time: Respect other people's time. In some cultures, time is considered an extremely valuable asset, and respecting other people's time shows respect for the people themselves. 

Being a "window to the world" helps us become better persons and better professionals, able to recognize diversity and to take advantage of it, not only for our own benefit, but for the collective benefit as well. Mastering the areas above will help us become more effective international visitors, guests, hosts, providers, partners or customers.  

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