I recently gave a private training which included an overview of cultural differences. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I moved to the US from Russia in 1991, having received a three-month contract as a Mac Developer at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco. They converted it to a full-time position midway and helped me obtain a Green Card, at which point I could leave.
It was my first trip abroad, and I had no clue about the American language and culture. But it was quite a soft landing: the staff were friendly and accommodating. My first boss was entertained by my exotic background and was teaching me about the culture. He has even gone through a comic book with me explaining why this was funny.
Later on, I took a helpful Berkeley Extension course on business behavior.
I live in a very diverse area. One of my software teams had an Indian, a Chinese, a Bulgarian, and a German (who could drink 12 bottles of beer). One of my son’s schools had 12% white kids.
In Russia, my environment was Math students and professors, about a hundred people who knew each other. Here, I was exposed to “everybody.”
I am still fascinated by cultural differences and feel better chemistry with my European friends and colleagues than Americans.
I wholeheartedly recommend the book The Culture Map – by Erin Meyer – it covers differences between cultures in business.
I recommend https://relocate.me as an informative resource for relocation between countries.
Here are some “starter” cultural differences.
- The US is all about success – education, career, family, owning a house.
- English has different spelling and meaning in the US and the UK – Google it.
- Americans love expression from baseball, American Football, and basketball in business
- To keep the ball rolling
- To drop the ball
- To stay ahead of the game
- To call the shots (etc.).
- Americans call March 14 the Pi Day (3-14).
- Reddit, Discord, and Slack are popular but not Telegram or WhatsApp.
- It is OK to use Facebook Messenger work-related – not so in Western Europe.
- Americans go overboard about Diversity– take a look at https://help.apple.com/applestyleguide. It is no longer OK to write “he or she,” “men and women,” “Grandfathered in,” “Blacklist,” or “white-hat hacker.”
- We do not have GDPR.
- The most expensive real estate is in San Francisco and New York.
- Americans write “Hi <name>,” Europeans, “Dear Ms./Mr. <lastname>.”
- Americans drive everywhere, and restaurant portions are enormous; being overweight is a national problem.
What can you add to this?
We are planning a live webinar soon.