Cultural Intelligence: Expats' Superpower To Thrive Abroad

In today's article, we explore a very important concept to anybody who lives or plans to live abroad, that has been proven to ease expatriates' transition from one place to another and adapt to new contexts: cultural intelligence. What is cultural intelligence? How does this skill impact your experience abroad? We discover it all in today's article!

At ASI Movers, we know that taking the leap and expatriating involves so much more than boarding a plane and moving belongings.

Once in a brand new environment, developing a sense of belonging and building a setting and routine that feels like home are the keys to a successful move abroad.

Indeed, and as noted by researchers, “although globalization has made the world seem smaller and “flat” in many ways, increasing cultural diversity creates challenges for individuals and organizations, making the world ‘not so flat’ after all” (Ang et al., 2007).

In that context, a central concept emerges: cultural intelligence (coined by Earley and Ang in 2003).

In today’s article, we explore the power of cultural intelligence for expatriates and uncover practical strategies to cultivate this invaluable trait.

What Is Cultural Intelligence

Cultural intelligence is defined as an individual’s capability to function and operate effectively in diverse settings.

Simply put, and in the case of expatriation, cultural intelligence is the ability to build cultural bridges and thrive in new environments.

More precisely, it helps you connect with people from different backgrounds, understand and appreciate diverse customs, values, and behaviors, adapt and communicate effectively across cultural boundaries, and equips expats with knowledge, mindfulness, adaptability, and communication abilities.

A Positive Impact On Your Personal And Professional Life

Many researchers have noted the positive impact cultural intelligence has on the lives of those who live abroad, and how it helps them navigate their new environment!

A Positive Influence On Your Professional Life

As highlighted by Forbes, cultural intelligence is essential to the success of international assignments. Indeed, developing this skill will likely have a very positive influence on your professional life!

  • Enhanced Adaptability:
    It enhances your adaptability and capacity to transition smoothly to new environments, teams and practices, thus increasing the success rate of your missions and projects.
  • Improved Communication Skills:
    It improves your communication skills, allowing to effectively convey ideas, negotiate, and collaborate across cultural boundaries.
  • Building Meaningful Relationships:
    It allows you to more easily build meaningful relationships and trust with colleagues, communities, business partners, etc., thus fostering stronger connections and facilitating teamwork and networking.
  • Increased Problem-Solving Abilities:
    It increases your problem-solving abilities and capacity to navigate complex situations in diverse cultural contexts, leading to innovative solutions that are sure to participate in your project's success.
  • Career Advancement:
    It fosters career advancement as global individuals who developed cultural intelligence are very sought after by multinationals, employers, and business partners alike.

A Positive Influence On Your Personal Life

Yet, the benefits are not limited to the professional sphere. The positive impact of cultural intelligence indeed trickles down to your personal life, making it richer and more fulfilling!

When relocating to a new country and interacting with people from different backgrounds, it can be challenging to feel like you belong.

Cultural intelligence enables individuals to bridge that gap, navigate new environments and circles with more ease, and connect more swiftly with those around them!

  • Expanded Worldview and Personal Growth:
    It expands your worldview fosters personal growth, challenges biases, and enables a deeper appreciation for cultural diversity and a greater understanding of global, multifaceted, complex issues.
  • Increased Empathy and Cultural Sensitivity:
    Developing cultural intelligence promotes empathy and cultural sensitivity, allowing individuals to understand and appreciate different values, perspectives, and traditions.
  • Personal Enrichment:
    It enhances interpersonal skills, enabling individuals to navigate social situations, create meaningful relationships, and build trust across cultural boundaries.
  • Greater Cultural Awareness:
    Developing cultural intelligence deepens an individual's understanding of various cultures, their history, social norms, and customs, leading to increased cultural awareness and appreciation.

A Skill That Develops Overtime

The chosen way to nurture cultural intelligence is to stay curious, ask questions, seek engagement with others in an open-minded way, and learn about the cultures that surround you as well as the experiences of those you meet on the way!


For the past 15 years, ASI Movers has been accompanying global individuals, families, and companies in their relocation journey.

No matter the origin, the destination, the volume, or the project, we design the most adapted moving solution to fit your needs and requirements!

Our goal: to make your journey the smoothest possible, because there is so much more on your mind than moving your belongings!