Tucker International Intercultural Training Program Overview
Tucker International Intercultural Training Programs
Tucker International has been fine tuning its successful training approach for decades with programs for American Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Iran, Afghanistan, Central America and Brazil to US Navy personnel and their families, to NASA, and other global corporations. All of our programs are uniquely designed to meet the specific needs of our clients. The following items are essential components of our customization process.
A needs assessment is completed prior to each program. Participants complete a short questionnaire that helps us to design a program which will meet the specific needs of each individual. Our programs are staffed only after the needs assessment is completed, so that our Master Trainers, Consultants and Regional Experts are well matched to the goals of the program.
Assessment and Development of Participants
Tucker Assessment Profile TAP® and Development Guide Integration
Prior to the program, the Tucker Assessment Profile TAP® is completed by the program participants. Their assessment results are then given to them in the form of Feedback and Development Guides. These guides assess:
- Motivations for the overseas assignment
- Expectations about the assignment
- Attitudes and attributes that contribute to intercultural adjustment
In addition, feedback interviews are completed prior to the program to validate and interpret these results and to provide developmental feedback to participants prior to their program. Participants study the guides to better understand their strengths as well as areas in need of development.
Information from the Feedback and Development Guides and the Interviews are then integrated into the program design so that the content supports each individual’s specific needs.
Program Content and Topics
Information about the Country of Assignment
Current events in the country of assignment are reviewed and discussed in order to begin the process of thinking about the country and what is happening there. An overview of the current situation in the region is included to provide a broader context of the country and its neighbors. A brief look at history helps to understand events that have made the country what it is today. Also included in the workbook is a Culturegram on the country of assignment.
An understanding of culture, and how culture influences the ways in which people do things, is the heart of our program. A framework for understanding culture is introduced, and a research-based definition of six critical factors of intercultural adjustment is provided. A guided discussion with consultants focuses on host country values vs. those of the expatriate’s home country, which develops a deep and personal understanding.
The Life of the Expatriate Spouse
For a married couple, the successful adaptation of the expatriate spouse to life in the host country is often what makes or breaks the assignment. Structured discussions clarify the benefits of the assignment for the spouse as well as present the challenges and difficulties to be faced. Consultants provide insights and guidelines from their own experiences to help the spouse make a successful transition to the country of assignment.
The Business and Working Culture
The cultural differences between business and the working environment in the expatriate’s home country and in the country of assignment are reviewed with the specific job of the participants as the focus. Topics include leadership and management, business protocol, decision making, negotiations, meetings, attitudes toward time and punctuality, and other issues important to the participants.
While language instruction is not always a part of this program, the importance of learning the language is stressed, and insights into language learning are presented. Aspects of the non-verbal communication system of the host country are introduced and demonstrated.
Intercultural Stress, Culture Shock and Adaptation
The stress associated with intercultural adaptation is discussed, and the phenomenon of culture shock is described as a predictable cycle of emotional reaction. Ways in which spouses and the family can support each other in dealing with this process are discussed. Each participant takes a look at his or her lifestyle, and discusses how a healthy and productive life can be maintained during the assignment.
Optional Language Instruction
Language forms an integral part of culture, and it is said that one cannot be truly knowledgeable about a culture without knowing the language or, on the other hand, speaking a language well, without an understanding of the culture. Tucker International’s Language programs are designed with this in mind. Language programs are integrated with the intercultural program to provide a more profound knowledge of the new culture. While participants will not be fluent at the end of a short-term language training program, they will have the skills necessary to continue their language studies abroad. We do not limit our instructional method, i.e. audio – oral. Programs are adapted to the particular learning style of the participant, and interactive learning is emphasized. At the end of a program, participants will have a general knowledge of the structure of the language, be able to correctly pronounce most sounds in the target language and have vocabulary to assist them in daily life situations (social gatherings, shopping, meeting needs, emergencies, etc.).
Above all, participants will gain familiarity with the language that will assist them with their transitions abroad. We have developed our own material for some languages, and use and adapt commercially available material for others. We believe that there is no substitute for excellent language instructors who can relate directly to the participants, help motivate them, and bring them along at their own pace. We therefore employ the very best instructors. We have specialized language programs for Asians assigned to the United States who may have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds in English. Our specially trained instructors work with them to correct these problems and be understood more readily by native English speakers.
Providing cross-cultural training programs for expatriate children is highly important and necessary. By reducing fear and stress and creating a more realistic and optimistic view about the international move, children are happier, more supportive, adjust easier and have a willingness to culturally engage themselves in the country of assignment. Children are sometimes excluded and ignored in families during the relocation process. Although big decisions and changes are not for children to make, it is necessary to council and educate children on how to appropriately handle life changes that greatly affect their lives. This is what the Tucker International Youth Program seeks to accomplish. Youth Programs cover fundamental issues concerning culture, culture shock, moving and transition. Children, generally ages seven and above, are very sensitive to changes associated with relocation. Through discussions and exercises, the program addresses their fears, hesitations, excitements and worries. They also learn a great deal about their new country in an interactive and enjoyable way.
Master Trainer: An internationally experienced trainer who has been instructed to deliver and facilitate the Tucker International approach. The Master Trainer is responsible for the overall quality and success of the program.
Country of Assignment Consultants: Consultants who are from the target country who interact directly with participants to explain the culture of their country.
Country and Regional Expert: In some cases also the Master Trainer, this person discusses current events and explains important elements of history that have helped to shape the national character of the country.
Former Expatriate Spouse: A spouse who has successfully completed an assignment in the target country.
Intercultural Business Consultant: A consultant who has been engaged in business in the country of assignment who will discuss the ways in which business is conducted.
Youth Trainer: A certified teacher who has international experience.