|Chapter 2: Importance of International Business
2.4 PREPARING FOR THE INTERNATIONAL WORKPLACE
Since international trade is so important to our economy, the government has designed programs for today’s youth with exchange programs. Students learn about new cultures, get work experience, and see how international firms operate. This experience is often beneficial for getting employed after high school.
With today’s increasing technology, you don’t even have to leave Canada to be involved in international business. Many Canadian companies look for employers with international business knowledge. (Example: distributors who supply products to other countries)
Getting Experience Abroad
Gaining international work experience gives you many benefits:
-experience in how other cultures do business
-knowledge of the world’s resources and global economy
-improve multi-cultural communications
-acquire business skills on a global level.
-gain confidence in dealing with other cultures
Dr. Alex Murray, a professor at Laurier University, believes before traveling abroad, you should see how knowledgeable you are in respect to other cultures.
-Can you adapt to doing things differently?
-Are you willing to experience new customs and culture?
-Can you respect people with different values than your own?
There are now many university programs that allow students to gain international business experience. For example, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency offers internship programs with companies to university students in the Atlantic Provinces.
The goal of programs such as this one is to give new people entering the work force an opportunity to prepare to do international business. Students are often asked to do research, investigate competitors, pricing, tax laws, and conduct interviews with firms.
Getting Experience at Home
Although experience in a foreign country can be helpful for someone interested in going into international business, you can also do a lot of research at home and find out about international jobs in the international business area. Resources for research could include:
-The school or public library for books in the business section.
-Newspapers and the news on television to look for articles posted in the business section or in ads on the television.
-Anyone in the business industry.
-Community organizations, like the local chamber of commerce.
-Internet web sites of international companies that describe their foreign job openings.
There are ways to gain experience and improve your business skills in international affairs and business without leaving Canada. You can join an international organization or committee and volunteer to work with refugees in Canada. You can take post-secondary courses in international business, politics or contemporary cultural history
Knowledge & Skills for International Business
To be successful in a career in international business, you will have to make changes to your everyday life, learning how to communicate with and respect other cultures.
Increasing your knowledge:
-Understand and respect other cultures
-Have strong spoken and written language skills
-Knowing a second language is very useful
Refining your skills:
-Learn how to problem- solve
-Learn to use critical thinking
-Show leadership qualities
-Learn to clearly communicate a message
-Learn to negotiate and resolve conflicts
These abilities will come in very handy while doing international business. They will help you think quickly in new situations and will help you communicate effectively.
According to the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers, your international skills inventory should include the following:
-General traits: enjoy change, have a sense of adventure, desire to seek out changes, be open minded, patient and curious.
-Adaptation and coping skills: be emotionally stable and have the ability to deal with stress, know how to deal with culture shock (feelings felt towards a new environment), have a sense of humor and know yourself.
-Intercultural Communications skills and traits: be tolerant and sensitive to others, have good listening/observation skills, understand/use non-verbal communication and know a second language.
-Overseas work effectiveness skills: independence and self-discipline, experience in training people, resourcefulness, versatility and persistence.
You will need a good general education to work in international business. Also, post-secondary studies in anthropology, English, foreign languages, geography, history, math, psychology and sociology will help in this area.