How to Be a Cultural Adviser

Cultural advisers provide advice and training on cultural conventions in other countries.

Cultural advisers provide advice and training on cultural conventions in other countries.

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.

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About the Author

Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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