Case studies

Three examples of intercultural training on projects introduced by CERAN, Paris

European executive working for a French company in London

Introduction

The learner, a European national, is an executive in a French company and was being relocated to work in their London operation.

Background

The employer, a French international engineering company had recently taken over the company where the learner was working and redeployed the learner to work in their London operations.

The learner had had extensive previous expatriation experience and considered the intercultural training rather superfluous. Nevertheless, the company thought it would be beneficial for the learner’s acculturation in the UK.

The learner has a good command of the English language and had been living in London for a month at the time of the training.

There had been a prior questionnaire, but not focused on intercultural.

Training

The intercultural training took place at the London company premises, over one full day, in English.

The objectives were:

  • Introduce the United Kingdom and its values;
  • Introduce British communication and habits;
  • Show how to navigate professional and social life, and administrative tasks.

By way of icebreaker and showing awareness of own culture, I requested the learner bring an object representative of their culture. I brought along a mug with an image of Shakespeare; the mug for the tea and Shakespeare for the culture.

The training progressed with a mix of slide presentations, games and quizzes around the British culture, way of communicating, of doing things, and behaviour. The purpose of the games and quizzes is to get the learners to participate and do for a better understanding.

Conclusion

At the end of the intercultural training the learner admitted that it had been a good experience and time had not been wasted.

 

A French family expatriated to the UK

Introduction

Intercultural training for an employee of a major French company being sent to work in the UK. He will come with his family.

Background

The French company, a major electronics firm, has research operations outside London. The employee, a qualified engineer, is relocated to join the UK research team.

Although the employee and his family had been travelling abroad extensively, this was a first-time expatriation, moving abroad for a period of at least 2 years. The company wanted to assist the employee and his family to have a smooth transition to expatriation and facilitate acculturation in the UK.

The family had already visited the area they were moving to, found an apartment and schools for their children.

Training

The intercultural training was in Paris, over one full day from 9 AM to 5 PM and in French.

The objectives were:

  • Decipher the mysteries of British culture;
  • Introduce the United Kingdom and its values;
  • Introduce British communication and habits;
  • How to navigate professional and social life and administrative tasks.

The training was a mix of slide presentations, games and quizzes, with cross-reference to the French culture and habits where appropriate to create bridges between the French and the British cultures. The purpose of the games and quizzes is to get the learners to do, and gain a better understanding.

Particular attention was paid to the fact that children were present for some of the time. It was therefore important that those sections of the presentation, quizzes and games where accessible to them and appropriate for their age as well as keeping the interest of parents alive.

Conclusion

After the training the parents had a better understanding of life in the UK and the children of what they could expect in an English school, improving the expatriation experience for the whole family.

French couple relocated to the UK

Introduction

The learner, an employee of a French company, is being relocated to the UK.

Background

The employer, an important French building company, considered that being the employee first expatriation experience, he would benefit from a short session of intercultural training, reducing the issues of acculturation.

The learner will move to the UK with his family.

The learner and his wife had completed the intercultural questionnaire. This yielded four main lines of preoccupation:

  • English language;
  • Schooling;
  • Taxation;
  • Brexit.

Training

The training was done with both husband and wife over half a day, remotely using Skype and in French.

We covered aspects of British professional life, language and its code.

We also went over schooling and UK taxation system, in particular the PAYE which at the time was unknown in France.

It was too early to ascertain the impact of Brexit.

Conclusion

The couple felt more confident about their first expatriation experience.

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