It is by now well-known that living abroad for some time brings numerous benefits. In fact, exchange programs have now become a fundamental part of several university courses around the world. Besides, a certain level of multicultural proficiency is nowadays required in many fields of employment.
William Maddux, currently the head of the Organizational Behaviour Area at INSEAD, has previously held faculty positions at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to graduate school, he spent several years living and working in Japan.
In 2009, he carried out a research project that proved how multicultural experiences have a positive effect on people’s creativity.
As a matter of fact, if the experience is immersive enough, so much that those who go abroad are truly adapting themselves to these new environments, this psychological adaptation changes the way they look at the world in general.
These people get to look at problems from a new perspective and they gain access to a more diverse array of new ideas and more insights on how to do things.
There is a difference between actually living or working in a foreign country and just traveling.
For example, there is not always an effect on a person’s creativity if they are just visiting, while living or working abroad can give them what Maddux calls a “transformative” experience.
In this video, during an interview, the researcher gives important suggestions to get the most out of a multicultural experience. Those who have already taken a multicultural experience may find resonance in the examples he gives and can understand Maddux’s scientific approach to the subject.
Cover credit: Expatica