By Emily Garman, Global Competency Intern
This past Monday I got to start my day off with a cross cultural training teaching new hires of Interactive Intelligence about the United States. My supervisor, Ansuyah, goes to businesses frequently to teach the employees or employers about different cultures. I love going with my supervisor to these cross cultural trainings because I get to see the type of work that she does, people’s reactions to her presentation, and their surprise about the knowledge she provides.
At the training there were people from Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Holland, and they were all in their mid to late twenties. It was amazing to see people from all over the world at such a young age come together for a company in Indianapolis. The presentation was informal, less of a lecture, and more of an interactive experience. There was a lot of discussion as the new hires shared stories of their interactions with cultural misunderstanding. One notable story was told by someone who went to McDonalds, where one of the workers there asked about his accent and where he was from. He told her that he was from Amsterdam and she replied by saying, “Oh the place with the legal recreational drugs!” He said he was not offended by her comment, but emphasized that Amsterdam had much more to offer.
Something else I enjoyed was hearing about how another participant found interesting the large amount of pride Americans have in their country. He said that in Holland, the Holland flag is not flown, but rather flags from different countries where the citizens are from. The other individuals confirmed this, and someone even mentioned that his country, the UK, also prefers to fly other flags than the national flag.
Overall the training was a great learning experience and allowed to me to interact with people from other cultures. I also had the opportunity to try to understand the way they think about their own cultures and about others’, especially America’s.