After giving this program some time to gel in my own thoughts and mind, I’ve begun sending out information to key people I would like to help me promote the it. I immediately received this response from someone I have reached out to:
“…most today have it hard finishing high school, and (…) most won’t make or finish college. (W)e are in reverse in education and the numbers are blinding!…”
While that is undeniably true, I strongly believe we have got to get back to the business of being our own tangible rôle models! Although I know for a fact that there are a lot more African-Americans studying abroad and/or living as expats in a foreign country, that news doesn’t seem to trickle down. If it does, the significance that alternative can offer doesn’t seem to really take hold.
That’s why I’m here – to magnify the message!
From experience, I believe the following to be four key reasons for African-Americans – be they students or young professionals – to consider spending time outside of the United States:
- To better position yourself to take advantage of career opportunities available abroad. At a time when the US economy is coming down hardest on blacks, more black people need to be aware of – and qualify themselves for – opportunities elsewhere in the world. Even if it’s a limited stint, you will gain invaluable – marketable! – experience that goes far beyond simply keeping a paycheck coming in regularly.
- To deal more effectively with the international diversity of (both American and foreign) companies based in the US. Some blacks may not have noticed, but the issue of diversity is shifting focus from being an “African-Americans within America issue” to being an issue of how well African-Americans are able to connect and work well with people from other very diverse backgrounds. That paradigm is already reality, so (future) young Black professionals need to shed “American provincialism” and adopt a more “cosmopolitan” mindset. It will be that broader sense of belonging to a global community that will allow you to be on more equal intercultural and educational footing with your global counterparts.
- (Future) young Black professionals must come to understand how other cultures and their business communities “tick”. Once that’s been accomplished, you can take better advantage of the way those differences can be applied to positively impact your own professional development. Every culture has it’s “not invented here” syndrome, but – as marketplaces become more and more closely entwined with one another – the person who chooses to maintain a death grip on “the way things have always been done” will be the first to be made obsolete.
- Better leveraging global reach could become a decisive motor for more progress and development in our own neighborhoods. The Black economic community in America is still a “sleeping giant”. If more of our (young) professionals were savvy in developing and efficiently utilizing our talents and financial clout globally some of the past economic stability and growth present in legendary black communities of the past could be re- created and expanded!