The global mindset is not made for everyone, it truly takes an intern with a broad global mindset to understand their reality, and be able to adapt to their current environment.
In the global workforce today, people are still struggling to find jobs, especially within the last few decades. With the unemployment rate continuing to increase, young university graduates are slowly branching out to international employers for job opportunities (International Labour Organization). After all, there’s no better way to bring global awareness to a community than to target global talent as a source of employment.
Benefits of hiring an international intern include not only gaining fresh perspectives, but also bringing eager and ambitious learners to fulfill the needs of companies. Khaldon Roukie, a Canadian AIESEC intern who worked for a government energy plant in Turkey, shares his experience teaching English:
“I am now much better at problem solving and I am able to critically analyze issues that arise in front of me. As an international, I had to learn a foreign language, teach my own language, and learn how to adapt to an absolutely foreign culture. All of this took a lot of patience, adaptive skills, and perseverance and it was extremely rewarding.”
Through his internship, Roukie noticed that in comparison to Canadian business environments, the Turkish culture was “less cold and structured and more accommodating and adaptive.” Religion also played a key role in adapting to the Turkish business etiquette and proved to be a huge learning experience in terms of culture and communication skills. In regard to global competiveness, Roukie also observed that “most international companies had Canadians in mind for being accepted into most […] internships” because of the multicultural population and respect and acceptance of foreign values and customs.
Another young Canadian, Jason Yung, gives his testimony as a business development intern for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) reflecting on his work environment. Just like Roukie, Yung mentioned that Canada’s diverse and open culture allows for valuable attributes amongst hiring companies. As a Canadian intern at PwC, Yung’s job was to help Canadian, Australian and New Zealand markets enter/grow the Mexican markets for policies such as government laws, etc. Working with both native English speakers and local Mexican employees, Yung was able to provide insightful Canadian work ethic while bringing foreign businesses to the Mexican market.
In terms of cultural differences, the interns found that Canada had a more professional and strict business etiquette whereas other cultures (especially in the Middle East) were more hospitable and strongly based on personal relationships. This discrepancy of work environment was a big change for interns; however they were able to readjust their accustomed lifestyles to their new environment.
Even though some interns were greatly challenged with communication barriers such as language differences, these battles were faced through perseverance and willingness to learn about new cultures. Shiaoshiao Chen, an intern teaching English in schools in Colombia for 6 months, soon learned that much of the audience she was teaching knew little to absolutely zero English. She left Canada only accustomed to Mandarin, English, and French; but left Colombia with not only elementary Spanish speaking skills, but also a new perspective—and most importantly respect—for teachers. She says, “I learned how to be more patient and tailoring myself to their needs.”
Consequently, from a Canadian business perspective, they can gain just as much from an international, fresh perspective as foreign companies would with a Canadian intern. The CEO of Artemis Canada Kristina McDougall adds:
“Through AIESEC, I have seen that students who seek experiences beyond traditional education and domestic internships, have far more to offer.”
Hiring an intern with a global mindset will not only allow companies to become more acquainted with global partnerships, but will also strengthen Canada’s level of global competency.
So why hire international interns such as Roukie, Yung, and Chen? How would Canadian businesses benefit from hiring interns with such a global mindset? They are only a few examples of interns who were able to bring global talent and unique perspectives to companies around the world, yet think of the impact of having international interns come to Canada with such attributes. Even though these interns were only able to effect their respective work environments on a minor scale, imagine the difference even 100 international employees can make on changing Canada’s global competency.
Partner with AIESEC Canada here.