Communication can be hard in any workplace but imagine if you did not even speak the same language. This was a major problem when first arriving to Effi. As an international startup it was hard to properly communicate through broken English and over-exaggerated hand gestures. We would all agree on a direction of a project and then end up going in complete different directions anyways. Claims of “I understood it this way” or “this is what I met” were repeated daily. To most this would be frustrating and unbearable, having to repeat projects over and over again. However to me it is exciting.
I’m working in a completely different culture all the way across the world from my home. As my coworkers would get together and have meetings completely in Korean, I would have no idea what was going on but I would make sure to be a part of every meeting. Some English words would be thrown in once in a while and I could assume the direction of the conversation based on the noise level. If all fails, I would just agree and nod my head. It is so fascinating to see how similar and how different the work environment is across the globe.
I admit there are times in which I wanted to go back to my room and surround myself with some quality English Netflix just to hear my native tongue once and a while, but for the most part as long as everyone is trying to communicate we eventually get to an end project together as a team.
Look out for my article on “Five Tips for International Communication in the Workplace” coming soon. In the meantime check out other Effi Journal posts.
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