Cultural sensitivity awareness in a multicultural environment

By: Anteneh Tesfaye

Cultural awareness is making proper responses to behaviors and norms exhibited by people from outside of one’s own culture. It is foundation of communication and it involves the ability of standing back from ourselves and becoming aware of our cultural values, beliefs, and perceptions. Why do we do things they way we do? How do we see the world? Why do we interact this particular way?

Cultural awareness becomes essential when we have to interact with people from other cultures. People see, interpret and evaluate things in different ways. What is considered a right way of doing things in a culture is not usual in another one, and vice versa.

If we don’t have cultural sensitivity awareness we misinterpret and misunderstand other people’s different deed. A misinterpretation comes when we lack awareness of our own behavioral rules and project them on others. Becoming aware of our cultural dynamics is difficult task because culture is not conscious to us. Our experiences, our values and our culture background lead us to see and do things in certain way. We have to step up from our cultural boundaries and put ourselves in multicultural environment in order to see different cultures perspective and different ways of perceiving things. With the globalization of business, increased diversity in the workplace and multicultural emphasis, cultural awareness has become one of the most important wanted skills in almost every industry understanding the cultures around you will enhance communication, productivity and unity in work place, AIESEC opportunities abroad are best ways to expose yourself to multicultural environment and increase your cultural awareness. Our internship opportunities help you to develop the following 4 core parts of cultural awareness development.


Cultural knowledge

When you go abroad you through the AIESEC opportunities you will not only get to know about the culture of the country you settled, but you will also live with different people’s culture who come to volunteer or work like you from many parts of the world. Increased knowledge and better understanding of cultures is a basic thing towards development of your cultural awareness.



One of the challenges you will face when you go abroad to work is the communication problem. You will need to understand a local culture and perhaps learn some words to possibly communicate better with each other. Outstanding communication skills developed through multicultural work environments are valuable inputs to increase your cultural awareness.


Appreciating differences

There are differences in values, beliefs, interests, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, among people. The fact that accepting there are differences and valuing them is another thing you get when you are in a multicultural environment that will shape you to become someone with an advanced level of cultural awareness.


Self Awareness  

Even after developing all the other above core parts of Cultural Awareness it is hard to understand everything in our dynamic and vast multicultural working environment. At such times it is good to ask ourselves “Why I am feeling this way towards this situation?”, “Why I do I think this way?” And adjust responses and actions accordingly to these questions. To answer these questions, a good awareness of our own values, beliefs, and preferences is needed. Weakness and strengths can also be developed through volunteering or working abroad opportunities, provided by AIESEC.


Do you want to increase your cultural awareness through a 6-78 weeks internship abroad?

Click here to grab this chance. 

6 Ways Volunteering Abroad Gets You Work Experience

By: Anteneh Tesfaye

Are you looking for a way to add some experience to your CV?  Besides just adding do you want develop yourself professionally and acquire work skills in very diverse and challenging environment? Volunteering abroad in community development projects through AIESEC in a country you choose will give you the ample opportunity to build up your professional skills. Here are six ways AIESEC Global Volunteer opportunities gives you a work experience.

1- You will expand your personal and professional network

Volunteering abroad will give you friends for life which you can always ask them for help and support. You will meet different people in your journey and at the NGO or school you are working. This is a way to build up your professional network. If you perform well in your tasks when you work as a volunteer your supervisor, at a place you worked might even serve as reference to you when you apply for a job.

2- Diverse new working environment

One of the best things you can get going abroad and volunteering is exposing yourself to new working environment which most of the time is far different from the surrounding you are used to. Facing the challenges that comes from this situation, and finding a solution, or adapting yourself to the new environment will give you another worth experience. This will be definitely an asset to your carrier development and gives you an upper hand when you apply for any job opportunity. Mind the fact that you will have a better CV than any of your peer fresh recent graduates who do not have any volunteer experience.

3- New culture and language

Our volunteer opportunities give you access to new a culture considering that you will go to a different country with different ways of doing the same things you do, and distinct things as well. You will learn new language which is always an addition to your skills, and makes you more competitive in the job market.


4- Leadership

AIESEC Volunteering opportunities are always designed to develop leaders that can impact themselves and everyone around them. Well you may ask <<how do they develop leaders in their platform and what makes them so unique?>>

First in AIESEC youth leadership is the core of our organization. We have a leadership development model consisting of three parts which helps us to develop leaders. The number one is the Leadership Qualities we want to see our customers get after going on an exchange with us. The second one is The Inner & Outer Journey. This is a personal journey that our customers go through in an AIESEC exchange in order to develop the 4 Leadership Qualities. The third part of this Leadership Model is called Standards & Satisfaction. It describes the daily activities a team of AIESECers need to execute in order to facilitate a complete experience for our Volunteering exchange participant. At the end of your volunteering experience you will be a person who is self aware, someone who can empower others, is solution oriented and, a world citizen. Having these qualities when you apply for any job will shows the managers that you are fit to their company or organization.

5- You will Acquire Huge range of Skills

You will develop skills such as the ability to work in a team, problem solving and adaptability, communicating with clients and stakeholders, ability to plan and prioritize work, sales skills, time management, report writing, and improve interpersonal skills are some of the benefits you get from Volunteering abroad.


6- Companies and organization care about your volunteer experience

A recent LinkedIn survey found that 41% of hiring managers consider volunteer experience equally valuable as paid work. LinkedIn also found that 89% of professionals surveyed had volunteer experience. After LinkedIn collected this data, they decided to include a place to put a volunteer experience for their users, because commitment and dedication of doing a volunteer work will definitely give you skills you need for paid work as well.

Just place yourself in the shoes of an employer and picture this situation for a minute. Two job candidates with the same backgrounds. However, one of the candidates has a significant volunteer experience – an experience that allowed the student to harvest relevant skills to the job they are applying. On the other hand, the other candidate has just graduated with no volunteer experience, which one would you choose?


So are you ready to take this chance and volunteer abroad?

Here you can find Volunteering opportunities abroad. Your life-changing experience is just one click away.