This week Yasme, our Level Up Village Coordinator will give insights on Expo's staff diversity and working with different cultures
When I was given the opportunity of an interview at Exponential Education for the position of Level Up Village Coordinator in May 2016, the first observation I made was that I would be working with people from a culture and race which were different from mine.
I was unfazed by this realization as I had attended a senior high school where students came from all over the world.
Joining the “Expo family”, as I will like to call it, I noticed we were all mindful of the fact that there may be some barriers during our interaction.
However, what I found most interesting was that each and everyone of us was ready to set aside our differences, bridge the gap and work together.
While the Ghanaian staff was getting used to the speed and tone of the language of the expat staff, the latter was also getting lessons in the Ghanaian language (Ashanti Twi) and culture.
I was particularly concerned about how difficult or otherwise it was going to be for the expat staff. However, I had always believed that Twi is the easiest language to learn in Ghana and the expats residing in Antoa and Tikrom in the Ashanti Region, will certainly propel them to know more about the Ghanaian culture and language.
When it came to buying items (personal or for work) or transportation, I was impressed by how the expat staff went about these though it was not that easy.
We would sometimes have chats about some of the things that are frowned upon in one country but embraced in the other.
An example is breastfeeding. Here in Ghana, a lactating mother could bare her breast for her baby to feed, regardless of her location in public. On the contrary, this practice, I have come to know, is not embraced everywhere in the United States of America.
Also, in Ghana, using the left hand during interactions and exchange of items is seen to be disrespectful while in the Western culture, it is no big deal.
Another new thing to me was Trivia Night: the “game night” which our expat staff introduced to us as a way of learning and socializing. So far, though I have not been able to attend any, I have heard of how much the Ghanaians are beginning to appreciate and enjoy it.
All in all, I am most grateful to be a part of this diversified Expo family. Not only have I learnt to appreciate more of other cultures but I have also learnt to be more tolerant of people who do not come from my part of the world.