By the age of five, I had already lived in five countries: Bulgaria, Germany, Japan, Austria and the US. While I may no longer remember most of those languages, being exposed to so many cultures has left a visible impact on me and my way of thinking. Since then, I spoke French at school, English with friends and Bulgarian at home. I’ve learned that every culture has its own set of values and that no set of values is superior to another. They all have their virtues.
Even when I graduated from French immersion school, I continued to surround myself with different cultures. My friends were from Benin, China, Columbia, Vietnam, Argentina, India, Cameroon, Cuba and Pakistan, to name a few. Most of them, first generation immigrants. I participated in two trips to Quebec and Montreal with my school. A couple years later, I enrolled in a two-week Spanish immersion program in Guatemala, where I had the pleasure of immersing myself in the culture thanks to the wonderful host mother. My first year in college, I participated in a week-long trip to London and a summer exchange in Montpellier, France. Being able to step back and compare the values of these cultures is a privilege that I greatly value. Currently, I am studying abroad in Vienna, Austria. From experience, I can definitely say that adapting to cultures is hard. But it is definitely well worth it.
I will leverage this knowledge of cultures in my career when working with colleagues, both local and international, and when deciding on the right marketing strategy for international markets. Currently, I am fluent in three languages (English, French and Bulgarian) and am planning to learn German, Spanish and Russian. Learning to navigate through cultures has been a regular part of my past and I plan to keep it a part of my future!