X-Cultural Flexibility

Posted on June 12, 2010


My brother, nicknamed Tant – short for our family name – is an international student at Brandeis University working on his Masters Degree in International Business. Born and raised in Armenia, he has lived in Canada, Russia and England. For as long as I can remember, he has been enrolled in head-spinning projects and progressive educational institutions. These have taken him to various parts of the world as a scholar, expert and a traveler.  Explorer by nature and eager for new knowledge (I must confess, that my descriptions might come across as a little biased, after all I am writing about my brother …) he decided to try himself in the States.

Below is their story of cross-cultural shock, adjustment, and success in cartoons drawn by my brother Sergey Tantushyan.

Here they come ...

When the news came that he received a scholarship at a reputable university, he and his wife together with their newborn son packed their belongings and took Boston by storm.

Lessons of self-promotion &  elevator pitches ...

Lessons of self-promotion & elevator pitches ...

Self-promotion wasn’t exactly part of Tant’s culture. However, with a little effort and some flexibility, cultural differences began to sooth.

Individualism vs Collectivism

Networking event took them to NY. It was then time to  … pitch, pitch and pitch. Overwhelmed with the city of lights and adjustment to the language of “I” vs “we”, NY stake was a delight.

Adjustment ...

End of the year holidays, partial reunion of the family arose conflicting thoughts about the future: “Should I / we stay or should I/ we leave?” was the question.

Per Aspera Ad Astra

The end of the first semester was around the corner when Tant was offered an internship with flexible hours and possibility to work remotely. This was a desired and well deserved outcome that required considerable effort.  Back to Armenia for the summer, Tant remains culturally flexible: western in the business setting, Armenian at heart.

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