How shall I talk of the sea to the frog, If it has never left his pond?
How shall I talk of the frost to the bird of the Summerland,
If it has never left the land of its birth? How shall I talk of life with the sage, If he is a prisoner of his doctrine?
Chung Tsu, 4th Century B.C.
The force and speed of global changes are transforming societies around the world. Much economic, environmental, health, social, demographic and technological issues have international consequences. The world is increasingly characterized by its complexity, interconnectedness and diversity at the same time.
The interpersonal communication can be also characterized by complexity and variety of communication spheres. Even 15 years ago we couldn’t imagine talking with friends via Skype who live in another countries and seeing them at the moment. But now many ways of communication are possible and it gives more opportunities for interpersonal relationship.
Personality of modern society crosses the boundaries of communication and self realization and makes them wider and wider with a high speed. The same goes with person’s mentality nowadays, the time of internationalization of educational institutions and companies. Having the intercultural competence, the person can extend the range of opportunities he or she can take, variability of spheres to be self realized in. Taking new opportunities and trying new things, person understands what is better for him choosing the most optimal way of self actualization in life.
Especially the concept of “selfactualization” psychologists use to describe those who are immensely successful in realizing their potential. The actualization of one’s talent, skills and abilities is regarded as a key element for having a satisfying life .
“Who am I and why have I come here?” People from all backgrounds, nationalities, experiences, and ages used to ask themselves this question and found different responses to this complicated question. Understanding one’s self is probably the greatest intellectual challenge for human beings. A simple answer to this question can be found via basic states of belonging: professional status, family membership, social status, etc. However, such simple responses do not help us to resolve the underlying existential problems. The so-called question, in other words, seeks for an answer about the “self” itself, rather than for different social labels that are embedded in the self.
Many factors affect self actualization of personality. Ethnical identity is one of them.
From early childhood a person gets understanding of things how he or she should live, learning norms and standards of behavior and have an ideal conception of what he should become and what he should achieve. Growing older and facing differences with other people the native culture impact is getting reduced and person becomes acculturated. Leung shows in his research that cultural differences might be reduced by acculturation factor “if mental processes associated with national culture are relatively fluid, and can be changed and sustained by appropriate situational factors”. Thus, the questions of if and how culture matters depends on situations and unique personality characteristics. Mischel classifies situations from strong to weak. Strong situations are characterized by having salient behavioral cues, i.e. everyone is interpreting the circumstances similarly, leading towards identical expectations regarding the appropriate response .
For example, one would expect that most people would be happy and have fun at someone’s Birthday Party and very upset when act of terrorism happens. Consequently, strong situations are characterized by suppressing the expression of individual differences. Weak situation can initiate someone’s individual reactions according to his or her ethnic identity. And the less intercultural awareness personality has, the stronger it will be. So, the more person understands intercultural and transnational diversity, the easier he or she can realize himself in a new environment. Or for more successful self actualization in every environment to be well educated and well read, know about customs and traditions of foreign countries is not enough. For this person should think globally
So, the importance of developing the global mentality is obvious. There are many means and possibilities for people to get it. One of this means is to take part in an international program. It will bring an integral effect and plus to language competence and learning traditions a person can try his self realization in a new environment. It is a constant tension, such needs aiming to further development will not stop.
Many international programs aimed at getting knowledge, experience exchange, building international teams, were worked out and successfully implemented. The well-being and prosperity of a modern personality will be greatly enhanced by taking part in such a program, it will give an opportunity to build bridges for understanding and cooperation across cultures and nations. For educators it will give a possibility to prepare graduates with the foreign language competence, international knowledge and skills, for managers of big companies will be a benefit to have good specialists with an international experience to work and live in an increasingly diverse and interdependent world.
International programs bring range of immediate and long-term positive results. They include:
- Developing students’ and managers’ international and intercultural competency;
- Creating enhanced opportunities for research, learning and getting the experience;
- Establishing a worldwide network of researchers and international teams;
- Enhancing the quality and innovation of education and research;
- Fostering friendships between people from around the world .
In our research we have investigated the participants of “Work and travel” international program. They are students of our local universities: Kazakhstan-American Free University, EKSU in honor of S. Amanzholov, East Kazakhstan State Technical University in honor of D. Serikbayev, Ust-Kamenogorsk branch of Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Programming Science.
The USA Work and Travel program offers international university students a challenging opportunity to intimately experience life and culture in the U.S. during their summer holiday period through the J-1 Visa Program.
International college students are able to work side by side with U.S. students at entry level seasonal positions. They do this legally through obtaining a U.S. Government issued J-1 Visa from Cultural Homestay International.
This program allows international students to earn modest spending money to offset some living and expenses during their stay in the U.S. It offers U.S. employers the ability to acquire extra staff to cover busy seasonal positions in peak travel areas of the United States.
The J-1 Visa program allows these students to work for up to four months in the United States with a fifth month reserved for travel if the student chooses.
For taking part in this program, students should contact the Employment Service Manager in the local area or fill out an employer questionnaire, e-mail, fax or mail completed employee questionnaire directly to CHI .
Having been interviewed while our investigation process, they shared their opinions concerning the benefits of their experience.
The common answers were :
- Mastering English language Usage to International Standards – they had to adapt their use of the language to particular situations and to the listener’s comfort level in English.
- Learning more about International Etiquette Standards –Students have learnt and practiced appropriate forms of greeting, introducing, thanking and taking leave of international colleagues new friends.
- Got ways to develop Global Mentality – They had situations when they had to speak about issues affecting USA, as well as to connect these issues to international relations and trends, compare traditions, events on early history of their Motherland and other countries etc.
It was quite easy for those who can speak fluently and accurately, being aware of all global issues and having an image of foreign personality in advance. Knowing customs and traditions of country you are going to is also very important, it will make it much easier to get to know new people and find more opportunities for yourself. Or, in other words, having “global mentality” will be a key element to succeed in an intercultural environment.
The terms international, intercultural and global reflect the breadth and depth of modern life. It is a dynamic process, not a set of isolated activities. And you can more actively realize yourself when integrated into the structure. Such structure can be one of the international programs. During this experience abroad, the development of intercultural competence will take place as the movement from internal outcomes to the interactive external outcomes, as an effective and appropriate communication and behavior in multicultural situations. And dynamically it will develop the “global mentality”. This term is very new, in the sources we have met it only once, in an article of Dr. Eric J. Romero, an experienced expert in Unconventional Leadership, Culture, Strategy and Innovations. But it is obvious that soon it will be in everyday use.
Students who are inter-culturally competent demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to thrive in a world characterized by global mobility and social, cultural, economic, political and environmental interconnectivity. Global citizenship reflects an awareness and appreciation of diverse people, cultures and environments throughout the world (global awareness) and the ability to manage this interconnectedness harmoniously and productively (intercultural competence). Global citizenship is achieved through an interactive process whereby students and staff from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds exchange knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and experiences so as to enhance their understanding and appreciation of, and capacity to operate successfully within, a range of local, national and international communities.
Some of the students who took part in our experiment have these qualities and some of them don’t. And that’s why they have had problems during their working tour to the USA.
Taking into consideration this fact as well as the necessity and studying the international advisers experience for successful selfrealization abroad of foreign students and managers we have made recommendations to the international programs managers and participants.
Before having working tour to a foreign country to succeed more, a person should try to achieve the following competences which after integral effect will give a skill to think globally.
Knowledge and understanding
- Knowledge of equity, social justice, human rights and related social, economic and political issues.
- Knowledge of globalization and interdependence, and the shortand long-term implications for sustainable development.
- Understanding of how the world operates (socially, culturally, economically, technologically, politically and environmentally).
- Recognition of the impact of local, national and international actions and decisions for local, national and international communities and environments.
- Understanding how knowledge may be constructed differently across cultures in different disciplines. Recognition of intercultural and transnational issues relevant to professional practice.
- Awareness of own culture and its perspectives, and other cultures and their perspectives. Recognition of ones membership of, and responsibilities within, both a local and global society.
Skills and abilities.
- Ability to think “globally” to consider issues from a variety of different perspectives (social, cultural, economic, political, religious, etc.).
- Critical analysis of (and the ability to challenge) conventional thinking, injustice and inequality.
- Ability to interact and empathize with people from different social, cultural, religious, and linguistic backgrounds, both locally and globally.
- Effective leadership, cooperation and teamwork skills.
- Ability to engage in problem-solving, shared perspective-taking and negotiation to resolve conflicts.
Attitudes and values.
- Appreciation of, and value and respect for, global multicultural, multilingual diversity.
- Commitment to engage in informed debate about issues of equity, social justice, human rights, and related social, economic and political issues.
- Committed to justice, equity, environmental sustainability and civic obligations.
- Commitment to participate in, and contribute toward, creating an equitable and sustainable community at a range of levels (from the local to the global).
- Appreciation of the complex, interacting factors that contribute to diversity of language, culture and multicultural relationships.
- Sensitivity to, and awareness of, complex human-environment interactions; and a willingness to act in a manner consistent with the changing needs and demands facing society.
- Sense of identity, self-esteem and betion. Psychological Review, 1943, pp 50, 370-396.
lief that people can make a difference to the world. In conclusion, we want to say that developing global mentality the ability to think globally and have the whole awareness of intercultural relationships, events and differences is very important nowadays. An acquisition of intercultural competent relies on systematic and supported approaches to design and delivery of internationalized knowledge and experiences. Self actualizing people having knowledge and understanding, Skills and abilities, attitudes and values, listed as recommended will be a great help for further development and self realization.
- Maslow, A. H. A Theory of Human Motiva-
- Good Practice Resource Booklet – Internationalizing the Working Tour Programs. Tip Sheet –Global Interaction, USA, Virginia, 2012
- Dr. Eric J. Romero, International Affairs: Finding opportunities in foreign internship, AACSB, Intrepid Consulting, University of Texas April, 2012
- Global trends of 2025, A transformed World, 2012 To view electronic version: www.dni.gov/
- Leung, K., Bhagat, R.S., Buchan, N.R., Erez, M. and Gibson, C. (2005) Culture and international relationships: recent advances and their implications for future research. Journal of International Business Studies, 36 (4), 357-378.