Caribbean Business Special Report | January 2007
COMPANIES IN MOTION
Cultural Training: crucial to relocation
Great! Your wife finally got the promotion she deserved. The fact is, she was promoted to Puerto Rico (which, by the way, your family has never visited) and the mainland U.S. is what you call home.
Leaving home in search of new horizons is not always as exciting as it may sound. There are many details to take care of: what to do with the car, how to search for a house or apartment, which are good schools and neighborhoods or how utilities and other related issues work, among others. In addition, when relocating to a different country, or even from a small town to a big city, cultural changes may come as a shock.
Lynn Stravecky knows first-hand. “I relocated with my family for a company and was not offered a cultural training, which caused great stress, emotionally and with the family.” She also felt frustrated: “I seemed to be doing things the wrong way and thought there was something wrong with me,” she said “ The situation also affected her impression of Puerto Rico” Since she didn.t speak Spanish at the time, it was difficult to find her way around and feel connected.
Although, the process can be confusing and may produce stress and anxiety, the change can be a positive experience when using the right elements. Resources such as the Relocation Counseling & Consulting (RCC), presided over by Stravecky, helps newcomers understand the new cultural and give them tools to better adapt to the new environment.
According to Stravecky, 60% of international assignments fail due to lack of cultural training and support. “Difficulty in adjusting to a new environment greatly impacts the employee.s work performance and home life,” she said.
RCC currently deals with the challenge of changing human resources mindsets concerning relocation orientation. “Cultural training programs are a crucial benefit and should not be viewed as a luxury but as a necessity,” stressed Stravecky.
The company, founded in 2001, helps relocating families with cultural training and mental health services in English and can accommodate Spanish if requested. Puerto Rican families relocating to the mainland U.S. and other international destinations can also seek advice at RCC. “Our programs are tailored to meet the needs of each individual and family member,” said Stravecky.
Her mission, “to help each client find his or her inner strength to overcome life changes and obstacles, and improve their quality of life,” is leaving a mark, that is better expressed through her clients’ own words.
Matt and Jenny Lawrence, age 9 and 11 respectively, relocated from Canada and wrote her a thank you letter saying: “Miss Lynn, we loved going into Old San Juan for lunch and speaking Spanish! We really enjoyed Puerto Rican food and learning about their culture. Thank you for helping us when we were sad and making us laugh.”
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