I listen, still in my thoughts, to the announcement on the plane. A feeling of joyful expectation accompanies me during the landing approach. I know this from my expatriate and family life and from my business trips for more than thirty years.
Dallas, Texas became my second home. Not because I lived there. No. But it feels like I’ve been to Dallas a thousand times.
During these numerous business trips to Dallas, I had become accustomed to a ritual. I usually worked five to six hours during the ten-hour flight from Frankfurt, Germany. But the last two hours of flying I watched an actual movie in the original American version. This not only helped me to listen, it actually transformed me a bit into a different way of thinking and behaviours.
I actually became more relaxed, more spontaneous and was also more in the mood for a little joke – changing from my German Me to my American Me.
“I’ve noticed long ago that you’re different when you speak English,” explains Mona Gabriel in her book “Zuhause, aber trotzdem fremd” on page 85, quoting a Czech proverb: “Learn a new language and you’ll get a new soul.”
How true this is.
The topic of Mona’s book is about the reverse culture shock of returning expats. “At home, but still a stranger”, reads the translation. But the book contains much more than that. It is a treasure box to find hints, tips and advice for an expat life in general.
I was expatriate with family and a business traveller around the world. We (my spouse and I) still are regular visitors to our “Third Culture Kids”. And as a family, we have travelled to countries to see, experience and learn.
Prejudices disappear, new insights emerge, new interests are awakened.
I am happy to share my learnings and to assist you with words and deeds if you like.
Support and mentoring for executives.
It’s about experiential knowledge that I was able to learn in my roles as a leader, manager and executive, as a father and husband and as a human being. It is about the development and – more importantly – the application of intercultural leadership skills.
What rituals do you follow when you travel?