Have you ever moved to a new country? If so, you know that there is no experience quite like it; the skills that you develop, the people you meet, and the lessons you learn are incomparable and transferable throughout your life. In public relations specifically, such an experience can help you excel further and build stronger connections, ultimately setting you apart and enhancing your credibility as a professional in the field.
Anyone who has worked in the international business world knows that business practices vary from country to country. Everything from the dress code to the way you format an email can change drastically depending on the cultural norms and practices of the society you’re working in. For example, in Israel, the work week runs from Sunday to Thursday, as oppose to Monday to Friday, in order to accommodate those who observe Shabbat. In Sweden, a daily coffee break is taken, called fika, in order to enhance productivity. In the PR world, it is incredibly important to be aware of and well-versed in various cultural or societal differences that may exist between you and your client, and the best way to do that is by actually going to live abroad and gain hands-on work experience in a new culture. In doing so, you bring a whole new level of knowledge and understanding to the table. This can also provide you with a greater global perspective, ultimately helping you develop better connections with international clients.
One of the best parts of moving to a different country is stepping out of your comfort zone to meet new people with whom you may not have otherwise ever crossed paths. Compared to travelling, where you don’t always have the opportunity (or time) to foster long-lasting relationships, living in a new country gives you a unique ability to build stronger and more meaningful connections with individuals from across the globe.
For individuals working in PR, this is a huge asset for various reasons. Firstly, by meeting new people from all over the world, you broaden both your personal and professional network at a global level. Additionally, the interpersonal skills that you develop when you meet new people in an unfamiliar environment are advantageous to the PR world and can help you succeed in building future client relationships.
Like any new experience, moving to a new country comes with a learning curve. Everything from understanding the transit system to building a new social circle may be challenging and intimidating. However, the soft skills that one develops when facing these challenges head on are unmatched. Indeed, even the smallest tasks, like grocery shopping, can be made significantly more challenging with an added language barrier, forcing you to exercise skills such as problem solving and stress management in a new and unfamiliar way. In fact, moving to a new country in and of itself illustrates one’s ability to adapt and embrace changes, a skill that can be transferable to any workplace. Inarguably, skills such as problem solving and flexibility are of great value to the world of PR, and acquiring them through living abroad adds another level of experience that can set you apart in the field!
Living in a new country can be a fun and exciting adventure, however it can also be a huge risk. Similar to PR, it’s important to learn from each challenge and obstacle and seize every opportunity, both to improve your skills and have the most meaningful experience possible.