If you travel internationally like my wife and I do with our work, you will appreciate what David Livermore has to say in his post on 10 Things Culturally Intelligent Travelers Do. These are related to four capabilities of cultural intelligence.
To get started, I have found three tips in particular helpful for me as they relate to living well, learning and laughing:
1. Learn Continuously. Livermore suggests: Search the web to learn.
“The culturally intelligent use the power of the internet to do a quick purview of the history of a place (start with BBC country profiles), the cultural norms (compare your country versus where you’re going using Hofstede’s tool), and look up hot topics in the local news (try searching only sites that originate from your destination; e.g. only search news stories from domains ending in .th if you’re visiting Thailand).”
2. Live Well. Livermore outlines several ways that travelers can take care of themselves.
“Overcoming the physical and emotional drain of travel is vitally important. Culturally intelligent travelers understand that stress and fatigue make them unusually susceptible to culture shock and frustration. When crossing time zones, follow these basic rules of thumb, though this is more of an art than a science:
- Set your watch to the new time zone as soon as you board your international flight. If at all possible, attempt to follow the “new sleep” and eating patterns even on the trip over.
- Eat half of what they give you on the plane–if that. And go easy on the alcohol. You’re already getting dehydrated. But drink all the non-alcoholic beverages you can get out of them.
- Force yourself into the new sleep patterns immediately upon arrival. Don’t take any naps if you arrive in the morning or mid-day.
- After you arrive, walk or run outside and get as much sunshine as possible. Light is key. Again, stay awake when it’s light but not too late. When it’s dark, sleep. Light is the most important thing that impacts your circadian rhythms.
- Consider taking Melatonin before bed. Many people find that melatonin, a natural nutritional supplement, really helps regulate their sleeping patterns.
Attending to your physical and emotional well-being will play a big role in helping you be more ready to fully engage in all that your intercultural experience has to offer.”
3. Laugh Loudly: Livermore encourages us to laugh at ourselves.
“The culturally intelligent don’t take themselves too seriously. They try a few words in the local language, sample some foods, and expect to be disoriented at times. An ability to laugh at yourself and learn from your mistakes can make a world of difference in not only behaving appropriately but enjoying the whole experience.”
Read Livermore’s blog for seven more tips to help you lead more effectively, and love others better as you travel…
Other blog posts you might enjoy:
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net