5 Reasons to Attend a Pre-Departure Orientation Course

5 Reasons to Attend a Pre-Departure Orientation Course

Whether it’s a month, a year, or a lifetime, living or working in a new culture can be extremely challenging. That’s why being adequately prepared is an important part of making an effective contribution overseas. Regardless of the type of work being done, the impact of miscommunication across cultures can potentially be devastating.

Fortunately, investing in preparation before working in a new culture is relatively simple, and can have an invaluable impact. Palms Australia’s pre-departure training for cross-cultural workers has been equipping travellers to work effectively overseas since 1961. Our expert-led training uses a variety of dynamic teaching methods to keep the learning useful, memorable, professional and fun.

If you’re planning on working, volunteering or travelling in a new culture in 2018, here are just five reasons you should attend our Pre-Departure Orientation Course in January:

1. It’s more than just speaking the language

Learning the local language is important, but there’s more to it than that. In every interaction with another human, we all bring our own expectations, pre-suppositions, desires, demands and baggage. People working cross-culturally do so more successfully when they have a better understanding of the culture they are living and working in. Closer relationships are formed and trust is developed, which makes the work being done more efficient and sustainable for everyone involved.

Volunteer with friends in Timor-Leste

2. It’s not as easy as reading a manual

Unfortunately, preparing to live or work in a new culture involves more than reading a book. While Palms Australia’s Pre-Departure Orientation Course materials include a small amount of reading, a theoretical understanding of cross-cultural communication is not enough. We understand that each person and situation is unique, so our practical, in-person training program can be scaled and applied universally.

Our training provides practical skills, built upon a solid theoretical foundation, to help you communicate effectively and keep safe in your new culture. You will also learn through enjoyable and interactive practical activities. This helps keep your learnings from the program memorable and effective in the field.

3. It will make you a better worker

Working across cultures, whether overseas or in Australia, can be a stressful experience. You may suffer from stress, loneliness, confusion, frustration, isolation and even trauma. These challenges will undoubtedly affect your work performance, but they may also negatively affect your long-term wellbeing.

Being adequately equipped with strategies to help you address these experiences will help you work more effectively in the long term, both abroad and at home. Our Pre-Departure Orientation Course will provide you with strategies for self-care, adapting to a new culture and managing relationships.

Woman on motorbike chatting with locals in Timor-Leste

4. It will make you a better traveller

A big part of being a responsible traveller is an understanding of the people and culture you’re surrounded by. What better way to authentically experience a new place than to be able to communicate effectively with its people? Our pre-departure training will prepare you to become more than just a tourist the next time you travel into a new culture, which will change the way you travel forever.

Lush green grass and lake at Hartzer Park, Bowral
Hartzer Park Conference and Retreat Centre, Bowral

5. It’s a retreat from the city

Our eight-day Pre-Departure Orientation Course is set in beautiful rural surroundings at Hartzer Park in peaceful Bowral, New South Wales. The course removes you from the busyness of the world while you prepare to serve the world. Preparation for your next adventure demands a space free from the stresses of our daily lives, where you have the time to discern how to make your cross-cultural experience as effective as possible.

Hartzer Park is committed to providing an atmosphere of peace and refreshment where each guest is made to feel at home in the quiet and tranquil surroundings. We’d call it a holiday retreat if it wasn’t for everything you’ll get to learn, reflect upon and experience.

Ready to get started? We invite anyone preparing to work, volunteer or travel in a new culture to join our eight-day Orientation Course in Bowral, NSW from 6-14 January, 2018. To register or to find out more, visit the Pre-Departure Training page or email us at palms@palms.org.au.