2016 is officially underway and for many, that means doubling down on New Year’s resolutions by picking up new books, hitting the gym or learning a new language. With the promise of the new year, assignees in a new culture have the opportunity to craft unique resolution lists of their own and are setting out to tackle last year’s challenges and set new goals in 2016. Here are some common resolutions this year and how assignees can best expect to keep them.
Trying New Food
Gone are the days of seeking out American restaurants and scouring the city for the local McDonald’s. This year, encourage your assignee to resolve to experiment with their local cuisine and even meander down to their local market to try their hand at cooking up local foods. Refer your assignees to cultural food festivals and encourage them to talk with vendors, who are often more than happy to provide recommendations and lend tips. For assignees in Japan, the Nishiki Market is a popular spot for locals to take advantage of hard-to-find cuisine and fresh seafood. For those truly committed to their resolutions, encourage them to try takoyaki, or an octopus pastry with a pancake-like outer shell. Those interested in experimenting at their own pace might enroll in a cooking class and get hands-on experience whipping up a South African feast of Pap en vleis—or whatever’s customary in their country.
Learning the language
A simple হাই (“Hello” in case you don’t speak Bengali!) can only get assignees so far. Though many assignees have resolved to put in the hours necessary to learn their local language, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start. Can we recommend introducing assignees to a certain language learning solution with over 60 language offerings and a lovable anthropomorphic fruit as a mascot?
Mango’s software allows assignees to learn around their busy schedules with mobile capabilities, shorter and thorough lesson plans and the ability to retake lessons for maximum proficiency. Mango also stresses native fluency, with the options to slow phrases down, practice and then speed them up to a conversational pace. With cultural lessons and real-world phrases, assignees will be flytende (fluent) in Norwegian before they know it!
Establishing a strong support system abroad is essential to adjusting to a new culture. Many assignees are set on building upon their existing connections this year and going the extra mile to meet locals. Encourage your assignees to inquire at their local U.S. embassy. There are often programs in place to connect Americans with locals and special “buddy networks” to encourage participation. Additional opportunities also exist for those locals who are interested in doing an exchange stateside. Many will be more than eager to hear about the U.S. and practice their English. Not only will befriending new people help your assignees transition to a new culture, but they will also be faced with numerous opportunities like practicing their language and getting introduced to larger networks of locals. There’s nothing like having a support system abroad and many assignees are set on meeting new friends this year.
While New Year’s resolutions can help keep your assignee on track in a new culture, it is important to check in with them and help them adjust to the new year and new expectations. For more tips on how to help your assignee adapt to a new culture, read “10 Signs Your Employee Is Experiencing Culture Shock.”