As one of my business school professors always says, “If you’re not thinking international, you’re not thinking business.” UNCW is constantly encouraging their students to either study abroad or do an exchange program in another country. In January 2009, I made my way across the Atlantic Ocean and landed in the city of Arnhem, located in the Netherlands. I journeyed with the intent of studying in a local school for six months. It was more than a culture shock when everyone around me was speaking a language that I knew nothing about. However, over time, I became more comfortable in talking with my peers and locals. In class, we always spoke in English, but it wasn’t always that simple. Sometimes having to re-word a sentence or change a sentence altogether was necessary to get one’s point across. As an English-speaking native, I couldn’t take for granted the fact that the other students knew what I was saying. This is exactly what organizations have to be mindful of on an everyday basis. They must pay close attention to the communication they use within their company so that they provide a consistent and effective message to all of their shareholders.
International student dinner in Arnhem, Netherlands.
Internationalization is key in organizations today. Often, when searching for new hires, organizations look for candidates with some experience abroad. Some students think that this isn’t a fair measurement of one’s ability and even you may be asking, “why is international experience so important?” Well, with the increasing push towards globalization and companies easily having affiliates in other countries, it is imperative that these different cultures communicate effectively. Within an organization, clients, customers, employees, colleagues, and even supervisors could potentially be from a different culture or nationality. Multi-cultural business ethics and communications must be a priority to organizations because in one culture, a quick, to the point email is acceptable, and others, it’s not. It is imperative to be aware of these differences and function accordingly.
UNCW and the Communication Studies department are continually trying to make students aware of the need to be more global. Offering courses such as Intercultural Communication, International Management, International Marketing, Business and Professional Communication, International Organizational Communication, and numerous foreign language courses as well as speaking partners for students that English is their second language, UNCW is committed to molding students into culturally aware career candidates in organizations.
For more information about UNCW’s international programs, visit their website here.