When your organization changes from a multi-lingual to a one-language practice, your day-to-day work life is certain to change. But how will it change and ultimately affect you depends on your native tongue and native culture.

There are three distinct social groups of workers in global organizations:

  1. linguistic expats
  2. cultural expats
  3. linguistic-cultural expats, or dual expats.

Take this quiz to learn what type of expat you are and how then to use it to your advantage within your organization!



Now that you have taken the quiz, and that you know what group you belong to, here is some advice on how to handle a language mandate in your organization.

  1. If you are a linguistic expat: sign up for any English learning support your workplace offers. Seek out others who are also learning English for the first time. Observe good study habits. With time and deliberate practice your language skills will improve. Make sure you attend and participate in meetings that are held in English. Refrain from speaking your native language with other co-workers. Tell yourself: I can do it. I can do it.
  2. If you are a cultural expat: be open to other ways of thinking and behaving. If you find yourself feeling shocked or threatened by new workplace policies tell yourself that it’s not a big deal. You can adjust. Seek to find commonalities with your coworkers who are not native English speakers. Seek interactions with geographically distant offices or teams. Remember that you are working for an international organization and not only your local subsidiary office. Think about the benefits of working and living in another country.
  3. If you are a dual expat: sign up for any English language support your workplace offers. Seek out coworkers with whom you can practice English. Remember that your positive attitude towards the lingua franca is a model to colleagues from other social groups who may feel frightened or confused by changes they are asked to make. Seek to find commonalities with your distant colleagues and interact often. Aspire to a global career.


To learn more about unleashing your corporate culture to capitalize from the promise of your globalization efforts, read The Language of Global Success, available now at your favorite book retailer.

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