[Experience] Difficult issues when working with foreigners

Tram Ho


When I first started working, I didn’t really think that I could work with foreigners who were different from me in my mother tongue. However, sometimes it is because today’s society is more integrated than before. This is partly because some countries have too many human resources, while others don’t. Sometimes it is because of economic pressure that some people have to work away from home. However, there are also some who either love a country or feel that they can develop a better career outside their home country.

It is also common now for businesses to set up companies in other countries. For example, Vietnam has many foreign-invested companies, such as South Korea, China and Japan. Besides, our country also supports jobs for people. workers from brother countries like Laos or Cambodia, or some other countries also have demand for employment due to excess manpower.

Although most of the time I only work with people from the same country with me, but I also have a number of foreign colleagues in the same office. Occasionally accidentally have to communicate with them, or sometimes two sides help each other or something. I also gradually realized some difficulties, which could be considered as a reasonable advantage to work with them.

Language barriers

When working, we will definitely need to communicate with others. Communication can be written or oral. If it’s text, it’s actually very simple, now we have google translate , as well as many types of fill words, handy sentence patterns that can be applied immediately in normal documents, or through message.

However, the difficulty is in terms of verbal communication, when you need to immediately respond to the opponent to avoid wasting working time. If the two parties speak the same native language, then just the other person said that we can immediately understand due to familiarity with the language used from childhood. But on the other hand, if two languages ​​are different, we will need to understand what the other person is saying by translating their language into our own understanding, and then giving the answer, and finally turning the sentence. answer in a language they can understand. We still make sure we respond quickly and can give answers right away, and sometimes need to remember to use it as a working document later.

I remember once having a conversation with a Bangladeshi colleague. Me and him use a common language, English to communicate. However, the problem is that when he talks a little fast, I don’t listen well. So a period of exchange did not bring much effect, we had to switch to written communication, more efficient and faster, but we also took a lot of time to talk before. .

Or another time, when the whole group got together, only one of them was a foreigner while the rest were Vietnamese. And we decided that all the work would be done in English so that our foreign colleagues could understand it more easily. However, this way is not very effective. And in the end, the whole group decided to use Vietnamese, and about the other foreign colleagues, there would be 1-2 people who helped translate the sentences or there would be conversations after the meeting.

Although there were many difficulties due to the language barrier, I finally realized that at least the ability to communicate in foreign languages ​​(specifically English) has increased significantly.

Cultural barriers

Every country will have a different culture, and when we work with people from another country, there are sometimes problems that turn out to be obstacles, although it may not be significantly effective. . Typically the Tet holiday schedule. When it comes to one person’s holiday season, the other is a normal working day and vice versa. Our working time will sometimes be shortened because of those holidays.

I still remember a memory, once on New Year’s Eve before Chinese New Year. According to the schedule, I was off and went home too. However for Japanese people, they are not like that. They celebrate the New Year while I am Vietnamese and welcome the Lunar New Year. I still see them working during my holiday period. And also because of work, I try to finish all the preparations at home to discuss some necessary issues with them.

Sometimes there are times when the party of the whole group experiences cultural problems. As I mentioned above, my group has several Bangladeshi colleagues. And according to the customs of that country, it would not eat any kind of meat like cattle or poultry. At the same time, they also do not use alcoholic beverages at parties. Even so, we still have a way for the party to go smoothly by ordering them made with fish or seafood, and using soft drinks ^^. The party was fun even though there was a slight difference in cuisine.

Understand each other

Working as a colleague, our team doesn’t always talk about work. In addition to stressful hours, we often talk to each other about interesting issues in life. Sometimes it’s about family, personal hobbies or trips to get to know each other better. Our group also goes on vacation once a year, attending outdoor parties. Or travel with the company on a certain occasion.

Regardless of any obstacles, at least we can still work together. There will always be ways to overcome the problems encountered when working with foreigners. And sometimes, after looking back at the passage of time, working with those colleagues, I also find it quite fun.


The above are just some of the problems that I have experienced while working. Most of it is collected from your own experience without having to rely on any other documents. Sometimes we may think we can not work when there is a language or cultural disagreement, but ultimately, as long as we are willing to accept and understand each other, we can cooperate and work well. Thank you everyone for reading.


  • The article has no references because it is completely the experience of the writer.
Share the news now

Source : Viblo