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Live Abroad and Benefit
February 10, 2012
Knowledge like the sky is never private property.... Teaching is the art of sharing.
-Abraham Joshua Heschel
"People who have international experience or identify with more than one nationality are better problem solvers and exhibit more creativity. What's more, we found that people with this international experience are more likely to create new businesses and products."

These intriguing claims by William Maddux, writing in Harvard Business Review OnPoint (Winter 2012), really caught my attention. Maddux based his claim on a variety of studies of students living abroad as well as a study of Israeli managers working in Silicon Valley who had incorporated both Israeli and American cultures.  In measuring the ability of the Israeli managers, researchers found that those with a bicultural perspective scored higher in terms of their ability to integrate multiple perspectives and this led to better job performance. Maddux concluded:

"Expatriate programs are good for developing better managers... We believe that companies could make them even better by ensuring that expats are not cocooned from the local culture during their stints abroad. The more expats interact with locals and local institutions, the more creative and entrepreneurial they will become."


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