When I first joined IDEAS, I was unsure of what the next six years of my professional life would look like. I kept hearing the lie in my head that said people might think I was giving up on my professional development because I could not find a job in America. This lie came from the fear of the unknown about my future. The truth was, I could find work in America but the time was right to move overseas.
Continuing my professional development is precisely why I had joined IDEAS in the first place! I was invited to move abroad and work in my field of expertise. My education background is in public health.
The project I work with trains rural villagers in southeast Asia to become physician assistants. I wanted to do something that I was passionate about and good at. I also knew that IDEAS projects would allow me to work alongside people groups who are marginalized.
Once overseas, I learned quickly that my work had become much more challenging. I had to consider new languages and translations, new cultures, new resources, and new social norms. I discovered that I had to develop my adaptation skills immensely. This gave me an impetus to learn new life skills and grow in ways I did not believe were possible!
Here are 6 ways IDEAS cultivates professional development:
- Improves ability to connect and communicate cross-culturally
- Enlarges capacity to embrace the unknown
- Increases confidence when initiating crucial conversations
- Provides opportunities to develop new skills
- Strengthens adaptability to new languages, cultures, resources, and social norms
- Implements the following key tactics for developing employees (Forbes):
- individual development plans
- performance metrics
- opportunities outside job function
- constructive feedback
- removal of barriers
- link to a professional network
- development resources
IDEAS provides individual development plans, shares performance metrics, outlays resources, and provides links to professional networks. If I were to return to the American workforce today, I would do so knowing that my growth as a professional has been cultivated beyond what I expected.
What is the next step in your professional development? Discover how you can cultivate your skills, network globally, and grow cross-culturally through IDEAS.
About the Author: Sheldon and his wife joined IDEAS in 2014. They work with a partner project that trains rural villagers in southeast Asia to become physician assistants. Sheldon is the Year 1 Curriculum Coordinator and Science Teacher for EMA and has lived in southeast Asia since 2015. Click here to read more about how IDEAS can be part of your professional development.