I wonder how many people will confess it? I bet many.
One of the greatest advantages in living outside your country is the chance to introspect yourself on your conditionings or ideas imposed on you by your culture. It can range from fascinating to devastating! When I lived in Russia people used to tell me I would rather move to the West because I looked and behaved not as a “typical” Russian. When I finally immigrated to Europe I was shocked to learn how VERY RUSSIAN I was :).
Another awareness-win is realisation of your attitude to your fellow countrymen. Of course you should not that normally a certain – more adventurous and probably stronger – people venture to leave their motherland. Thus the fellow countrymen you meet abroad are not exactly the same as the most left at home. But the main national patterns stay, of course.
In the subject of Intercultural Communication we learn that any immigration goes through 4 phases (honeymoon, ghetto, new motherland and bi-culturalism), and at some point many may even dislike their fellow countrymen and try to avoid (3rd phase). This is a highly useful piece of information and I would recommend every immigrant to learn a bit more about it.
But this is not our topic here.
What I noticed in my 15 years of living outside of my motherland is that people of some nations are not willing to collaborate/work on project/hire/get hired/etc. with people of their origin mostly FOR THE REASON OF THEIR WORKING STYLE!
I have no theoretical explanation of the phenomenon, but my humble observation (from the perspective of living in Austria) shows that:
-ex-Jugoslavians never want to work with each other, although they mostly have to
-Rumanians avoid working with each other abroad
-Jew tend to hire other nationalities but not their own
-Germans love to work with Germans
-Indians would prefer not to work for Indians
-Russians always prefer to work with Russians
Please mind that these are generalizations and of course there are exceptions.
My personal working experience in the Human Resources field proves that when living abroad Russians prefer Russians to work with mostly because of their amazing dedication and high sense of responsibility (I bet you did not expect that from Russians :)). This does not work for Ukrainians though – Russians abroad avoid hiring Ukrainians for the opposite reason -less dedication.
Another highly puzzling case are Jew: When in Russia they always stick together and try to get as many as possible to one work place. When abroad they try to avoid working at same places, and especially those Jew who have their own businesses always hire some other foreigners but not their countrymen.
I am sure many of my readers have their own observations of this topic, therefore observations and – moreover! explanations are heartily welcome!
P.S. please note that the title of the post “Working with my fellow countrymen? – no, thank you!” by no means reflects my personal case ;) I love working with Russians!