Gina Teague is a trainer and writer on cross-cultural management, international relocation, and global career development. A native of the United Kingdom, she has lived and worked in France, Spain, Brazil, the U.S.A., and Australia. During her sixteen years in America she developed a successful intercultural consultancy serving the corporate, academic, and non-profit sectors. She also gained an M.A. in Organizational Psychology and an EdM in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University, and produced two native New Yorker children.
Gina has written extensively on expatriate adjustment and career management issues for industry journals and Web sites. A cofounder of Isis Group International, an intercultural training company, she has recently relocated to Sydney, Australia.
One of the most striking differences I've discovered is in the two cultures' perceived attitudes to work, and to self. Australians work to live - but work hard at their jobs too. They tend to be egalitarian - as a visitor you will be made welcome - as long as you do not tell them that you are very wealthy, talented, or important (in which case you'll be told to "pull your head in").
In contrast, more modest cultures often find the American brash and boastful, valuing tangible results over a valiant effort. This "achievement orientation" may appear arrogant, but is a cherished ideal and a powerful inner motivator that propels Americans forward in their pursuit of excellence.
Having lived in New York from 1987 to 2003, I recently returned to run the New York Marathon. I can testify to the fact that marathon day in New York is the 'friendliest day' in that great city, with the sidewalks lined every step of the way with supportive spectators - many with inspirational and humorous signs to spur us on. Running through every neighbourhood in Brooklyn reinforced just how multi-cultural that borough and indeed much of New York is - as reflected in the live music on street corners, the range of shops and restaurants, and the language and dress of the locals cheering us on.