So what do we mean when we talk about international experience or opportunities for intercultural development?
Remember that your international experience can start at home, and intercultural opportunities can crop up in the most obvious of places – with hindsight!
Look for any chance to learn about other national cultures, ways to experience what another culture is really about. Extend your cultural knowledge and repertoire. This is essential to a successful international future.
In the first instance it makes sense to be inquisitive and look for opportunities to meet and socialise with people from other racial or ethnic backgrounds. Then you might want to work in a business with people whose origins lie in a different country.
In hospitality, of course, restaurants and other food outlets offer the chance to work with Italians or Greeks, French or Spaniards or cultures from further afield such as Thailand or India. This sort of environment is a great way to earn and learn, especially where there’s a mix of nationalities amongst staff and customers.
Hotels frequently welcome international guests and in your case the more international the better! So if food and beverage aren’t your thing, a job on the front desk will expose you to everyone coming through the door. And each of them will have a story to tell. Build on your interpersonal skills, engage with each visitor. Show an interest, share your own stories – it’s a cultural exchange!
Volunteering or paid work at sports events and tourist attractions, such as a stewarding, guiding or information desk role could be perfect – the more chances to interact the better. Whether it’s seasonal, occasional, full or part time, be sure to factor in the benefit of experience when choosing your role.