In the intricate dance of globalization, the role of expatriate partners has evolved into something far beyond what it once was. As these adventurous souls accompany their significant others on international assignments, a unique trait emerges as their secret weapon: Cultural Intelligence (CQ). 

What is Cultural Intelligence?

Cultural Intelligence is the ability of a person to adapt to different cultural settings. It was first introduced by Christopher Earley and Soon Ang in their book “Cultural Intelligence: Individual Interactions Across Cultures”. Recently, Daniel Goldman wrote a book on Emotional Intelligence highlighting the common aspects between both. 

Cultural Intelligence - 7C Lingo

Read our article on Identity Through Language here!

To truly grasp the significance of CQ, let’s immerse ourselves in the story of Akira, a Japanese expat partner whose journey exemplifies the transformative power of high Cultural Intelligence.

Akira, a seasoned professional from Tokyo, found herself on the cobblestone streets of Paris as her husband embarked on a work assignment. Although accustomed to the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, Akira approached the move to France not as a challenge but as a unique opportunity for personal and cultural exploration.

Motivated by a sincere desire to integrate into the French way of life, Akira dived headfirst into language classes. However, French wasn’t just a means of communication for her. It was a window into the rich cultural tapestry of his new surroundings. Akira’s diligence in mastering the language not only facilitated day-to-day interactions but also showcased her commitment to bridging the cultural gap.

Embracing the Essence of France

Akira’s high Cultural Intelligence became evident in her approach to engagement with the local community. Rather than confining herself to the expat bubble, he sought out opportunities to understand and appreciate French culture. From wine tastings and art exhibitions to local festivals, Akira’s adaptability and openness allowed her to navigate the intricacies of French social life with grace.

Her genuine curiosity about French customs and traditions endeared her to her French neighbours and colleagues. As a result, Akira not only respected the nuances of French etiquette but actively embraced them. This approach also made her sessions at Absolutely French a lot more interesting. Eventually, it opened doors to a world of possibilities that transcended cultural boundaries.

Advantages of High Cultural Intelligence:

Akira’s story illustrates the myriad advantages that come with high Cultural Intelligence:

Effective Communication:

Akira’s dedication to mastering the French language allowed her to communicate not just linguistically but also culturally. Giving her proficiency to serve as bridge between the expat community and the locals. All of the above fostered a deeper understanding on both sides.

Adaptability and Flexibility:

Akira’s proactive engagement in local activities showcased her adaptability and flexibility. Rather than resisting change, she embraced it, turning potential challenges into opportunities for personal and cultural enrichment.

Building Meaningful Connections:

By immersing herself in the local culture, Akira didn’t just scratch the surface; she formed meaningful connections. Her genuine interest and respect for the French way of life created bonds that transcend cultural differences.

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Conflict Resolution:

Akira’s high CQ allowed her to navigate potential conflicts with finesse. Understanding cultural nuances, she was adept at resolving misunderstandings and fostering harmonious relationships within the diverse expat and local communities.

Akira’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of Cultural Intelligence for expat partners. It goes beyond adapting to a new environment; it’s about actively engaging with and appreciating the host culture. As expatriate partners continue to navigate the global landscape, Akira’s story serves as an inspiring testament to the profound impact that high CQ can have on personal fulfillment and community enrichment. In a world where connections matter more than ever, the unique trait of Cultural Intelligence emerges as a beacon guiding expat partners towards a more meaningful and rewarding international experience.


Do you want to know about your Cultural Intelligence Quotient?

Go to : to find out your cultural quotient and how it can be improved.



Best Websites for Expats

Absolutely French is the leading French language school uniquely tailored for expatriates.

Through our engaging, friendly, and innovative French courses, we not only promise a seamless integration into French society but also an immersive cultural experience.

Are you an expatriate looking to master the French language and embrace the local culture?

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Address: 15 rue du Colonel Moll, 75017, Paris.