18 years ago I had a serious conversation with my dad about deciding to leave France, my family and working more than 10000 kms away in a country I barely knew: Mexico. At that time for me it seemed so easy, so adventurous and most importantly so right! I did not really understand why he was making such a fuzz about it. Well, maybe because he had to leave Galicia, Spain himself but as he told me that time because life was different. Life was difficult in Galicia, not a lot of job opportunities and people had to abandon their countries in search of a better future. In my case, I had a fine and stable job in Paris, I was a woman with academic studies deciding from one day to another to leave France for Mexico. Really?

But the biggest thing of all, beyond being an educated woman in a quite stable country deciding impulsively to leave it all, was: to freely willing to be a “Foreigner” for the rest of my life. For my dad, leaving his country implied to be a foreigner in France and become one in Spain when he was visiting. Interesting and wise concept I should clarify. Arriving in a new country it is discovering an unknown environment, being faced with different people with different culture, behaviors and a different language.  So even if you work in this new country for many years, you speak the language, you get nationalized, you had children, you mix it up with locals you will always be a foreigner. Why? You were born and raised somewhere else, your strange accent when you speak the new language will never really go away…

When you visit your country of origin, you have missed many events with family, friends…some buildings are new some others do not exist anymore. Your country and people have evolved and they have been doing it without you around. People kind of look different or you look at them with different eyes, you changed, you became a different person you may even have developed an accent or forgot some words when speaking your own language. So now, you became a foreigner in your country of residence and in your country of birth. But still it is a marvelous experience and opportunity to face different things, an amazing journey of learning all-new world and an all-new you, probably a more aware you.

This morning I woke up at 6 am and I’ve been awake for a couple of hours reflecting on this and I realize I am fine being a foreigner because when you encounter new people, new environment and new culture you give yourself a chance to evolve, to make growth matters and to simply become aware. I invite you to be culturally aware, not being shy of going to the unknown and finding new ways to do things and embracing diversity. And if leaving your country to work abroad is not really an option, you can still get a pick of the values of being culturally aware for you and your business joining our next 2-Day module on cultural awareness (27 and 28 Feb 2017) at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland (www.lhcconsulting.com/cdp or lhcconsulting@ehl.ch )

If you want to know more about Lausanne Hospitality Consulting, an Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and Swiss Hotel Association company, please visit www.lhcconsulting.com

Module leader

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Catherine Rey Sales & Marketing Manager at Lausanne Hospitality Consulting

Catherine joined LHC as Sales & Marketing Manager in December 2015. Her role involves developing and implementing the LHC’s Sales & Marketing plan and promote the Executive Education career development programmes around the globe.

Prior to LHC, she worked in the International Education industry for over 5 years both in Mexico and Switzerland, where she moved with her family in 2013. She represented in Latin America prestigious wine and spirit brands within the Hospitality industry for over 10 years. She worked closely with International Hotels, government institutions and corporate executives and multinationals and had to support them in the international implementation of their educational projects.

She is a graduate in International Business from the University of Blaise-Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand France and spent her last year of study in the University of Oklahoma Price College of Business USA. She followed several wine and spirit training both in France and Mexico. She lived in 5 different countries and enjoy multicultural environments where relationships, new ideas, innovation and original concepts are valued. She appreciates being challenged and strongly believe in enhancing the customer experience to growing the business.

While not at work, she enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband and go for long walks by the lake. She is passionate about wine and like to organize tastings of wines from different regions and countries for her family and friends.