Cartus Corporation


Case Studies

Culture Shock!


Shortly after arriving in Singapore, the spouse of an international assignee was so unhappy in her new surroundings, that she decided she wanted to return home to the U.S. immediately. Citing cultural differences as the key issue, Cartus set about providing as much support as possible to help her through the decision-making process.

Whilst respecting the woman's choice, we wanted to make sure that the she was happy with her decision to leave. Relocating around the world on a long-term assignment can be a stressful experience, especially–as in this case–with a child and family pet in tow. It can often take a little while to settle into a new location, especially one with a completely alien culture. Enter Jenny, from our APAC Intercultural and Language Solutions team who worked with the woman to establish what steps could be taken to make her feel more comfortable.

The woman explained that the communication style she would typically use back home in the U.S. was not proving effective with Singaporeans. This led to her struggling to build relationships with locals. Hearing these concerns, Jenny identified that the woman may benefit from bespoke, one-to-one cross-cultural training, which had not originally been offered by her husband's employer. The two-day session with a professional trainer, focused on local culture and the most effective communication styles to adopt when speaking with locals.

By the end of the session, the spouse felt completely confident in her new location, having successfully learnt how to address any cultural nuances she came across. Truly understanding what Singapore had to offer, she chose to stay for the duration of the international assignment.

The news delighted the international assignee, who could now focus on his business role, knowing that his wife was happy in their new home.