If you are reading this article, you probably have some international co-workers in your office that you would like to know better. This is an opportunity for both of you to expand your understanding of each other’s culture. And you don’t even need to buy an airplane ticket for this experience! To help you connect more easily, here are tips on how to help international co-workers feel welcomed.
Helping international colleagues to feel welcomed
Possible challenges when working abroad
If you’ve ever spent time abroad for work, you’ll understand how isolated you can feel being all by yourself in another country. I’m not talking about one or two weeks. Some projects take at least one year. And let’s say you are somewhat familiar with the language in that country, but not quite fluent, daily activities such as shopping for grocery, going to restaurants, can be a challenge.
Invite international colleagues to join you in activities
Your international colleague may experience some of these emotions to some degree. One way you can help is inviting your co-worker to lunch. Or if you are in the company cafeteria, invite her to join you at your table so she won’t be dining alone.
Welcome them to your home
If you feel comfortable, invite your co-worker for a home-cooked meal. It’s not so much the food, but the company, the atmosphere of being with a family that would warm your colleague’s heart. This additional opportunity to connect outside of work can only add to your work relationship.
Including international colleagues in group events
One of my clients was assigned here for two years. Football season that year was extra special, and his colleagues invited him to join them in sports bars or someone’s home to watch the game. After this experience, my client no longer feels isolated. He even bought an outfit just to watch the game, just like his co-workers. What a way to bond with a group!
These are just a few ideas to help you explore ways to welcome your international colleagues. I am sure you will think of more as you get to know her better. If it’s not an international colleague that you want to welcome, but an international student, here is an article on Tips for making friends with international students that may add even even more ideas to your exploration.
If you find this blog helpful, here is one that you might also enjoy on How to make friends easily in Seattle.
Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking. To schedule a session with her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org