Corporate cultures are shaped not by processes or products, but by people. Today, we are 6,000 Nagarrians in over 21 countries, with most of our colleagues based in India. Our endeavor remains to continuously shape a truly global yet local corporate culture taking into account the diversity and individuality of the people working in the organization.
Recently, we invited Max Gradischnig from Vienna for a three-month internship in the global Sales and Marketing based in India. Austria and India. Skiing and Cricket. Two countries that could not be more different: Starting with geographical, cultural, and linguistic differences, up to the way of working. This internship allowed Max an opportunity to acquaint with new people from diverse cultures, besides gaining corporate exposure. Here is an account of his cross-cultural experience.
How does going to India for work got into your scheme of work?
I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, to learn, and to see something new, and to explore a new culture that was different than what I knew and grew up in. India is an amazing country, one of the biggest economic players with a rich and fascinating history, beautiful landscapes, and even more charming people.
How did you prepare for such an adventure?
I read blogs, watched vlogs and a bit of Bollywood #chennaiexpress ;-) The most important thing is to be open to new things!
What challenges did you face? Was the start more difficult than expected?
I met everybody of the marketing team in my first two days and they immediately took care of me and showed me around, so I had almost no difficulties neither in the office or in my spare time. I stayed in an Airbnb so, I was in touch with the locals right from the beginning.
Traffic, traffic and even more traffic #wow, but I instantly fell in love with auto (= tuk-tuk) rides.
India—What were you looking forward to?
I have always been a huge fan of Indian cuisine, so I couldn’t wait to try my first real Indian butter chicken.
Apart from food, I have been curious about the work atmosphere, the way people live, especially in Delhi. I was very much interested in experiencing the Indian culture in general (I have never been to India before). So, I was super excited to get to know this stuff.
What is it like to work in India? How is it different from working in Austria?
First, the size! The office space in Gurgaon is huge. I guess almost 2000 people work in the same building, so it is hard to compare it with our Austrian office. In terms of working I could not feel much difference to Austria. But what surprised me was mostly, that a person’s religion plays an integral part in everyday life. One can say that in India, there is always time for chai!
Did you face communication problems and if so, how did you deal with them?
The people I met generally spoke good English.
Looking back, what was the memorable experience in India so far?
That’s tough but I would say the corporate party evening. That was definitely a night I wish would happen again. Great food, drinks, music, lots of dancing and awesome people. Nonetheless, I really do miss the countless after-work drinks with the funniest conversations.
Would you go back to India?
A big fat yes! My 3 months in India have been incredible. I met the coolest and the funniest people, learnt a lot, and had a great time. Hopefully, I can return sometime soon. And as I mentioned before—I love Indian food. Give me some Butter Chicken, Maggi, and Chole Kulche and I can survive a pretty long time!
What did you learn for yourself and your future?
Spending 3 months in a country with a culture that is different than the one you grew up in helps you see things and think differently. You get a broader mindset and, learn & experience diversity, which allows you to grow personally as well as professionally. Interacting with people from different cultures and backgrounds is an amazing experience where both parties benefit immensely. Experiencing different work techniques, habits, philosophies or opinions helped me broaden my horizon and build a stronger personality, which will surely have a positive influence on my future.
Obviously, I was sad that the time passed by so quickly, however, I learnt a lot in the 3 months I spent in India, not only work-related but also about myself and the Indian way of life. But there is one thing I see different now for sure. Cricket, now I understand how it works!
What would you recommend to a colleague, who is considering going to India for work experience?
I would say, “Go for it!” You are going to have a great time that you will remember throughout life. Try something new, be open, and enjoy every minute.
Finally, a special thanks and a big shout-out to Max’s buddies and the entire marketing team. They all played an important role in his stay and showed him many facets of the Indian culture.
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