I have traveled across the world for leisure, service, and school, but I have never worked abroad until now.
An internship abroad in an unfamiliar culture is quite different. The local culture and beliefs really do shape the workplace, although the company plays a key role.
The most noticeable factor when I worked abroad was the etiquette. Etiquette is shaped by the philosophies and culture of both the people and host company, creating an accepted behavior as standard. Interacting with other people may be challenging at first. For example, in another country, the appropriate topics for conversation or action protocols may not be obvious.
Singapore is unique in that the diversity of cultures is noticeable and separate yet manages to flow together. Caterpillar was multidimensional with its prominent local culture combined with Western influences. I studied Singapore’s culture beforehand, but to learn another culture requires integration. Singapore’s respect for hierarchy and order was universal, yet I was encouraged to break the rules and be individualistic in moments when I thought without a doubt I was supposed to respect the chain of command.
In my experience, little is absolute in a multicultural environment.