A cultural adviser -- sometimes called a cultural consultant, cross-cultural trainer or global mobility specialist -- provides region-specific linguistic and socio-cultural information and advice to individuals, businesses and nongovernmental organizations. The information provided by cultural advisers is used for many purposes, including commercial localization campaigns, informational campaigns, peacekeeping operations, institution-building and reconstruction efforts, gathering intelligence, law enforcement investigations and military operations. Many cultural advisers are natives who are part of the cultures/regions on which they advise, while others are academics who have studied the language, culture and politics of the region extensively.
Develop the linguistic and cultural expertise to become a cultural adviser, who usually have very specialized knowledge that can only be acquired by living in an area or studying it for many years. A bachelor's degree is generally considered the minimum educational qualification, and many cultural consultants will have one or more graduate degrees. A Mandarin speaker with a master's in business who has worked in the mining industry might be an ideal cultural adviser for a heavy equipment company looking to open a sales office in China, for example.
Get some industry experience. If you are looking at a career in the relocation industry, working in human resources for a couple of years to get some industry experience under your belt might be a good idea. If you are considering a career as a cultural adviser in international law enforcement, for example, a couple of years of employment as a police officer, private investigator or forensic technician will benefit you.
Earn a professional certification. Many employers prefer candidates who have earned a cultural studies professional certification, such as the multicultural certificate offered by the University of Missouri and the language and culture certificate offered by Princeton University.
Apply for entry-level positions as a cultural adviser. Cultural advisers are typically employed by consulting firms or are employees of large corporations. A few cultural advisers put out their own shingle and work as independent consultants.
- U.S. Department of State: Cross-Cultural Training and Consulting
- Worldwide ERC: Global Mobility Specialist (GMS) Designation
- University of Missouri: Multicultural Certificate
- Princeton University: Guidelines for the Certificate in Language and Culture
- International Business World: Cultural Awareness Training | Cultural Advisor -- Cross Cultural Training
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