Category Archives: Social media

Read, watch and enjoy the preparation of your new life

I am a student who is interested in the international affairs and the opportunities which the world can offer. Currently studying for a master’s degree at the International Business at the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria. Two years ago, during my Bachelor’s Degree, I decided to participate in an exchange program – called Erasmus – at the University of Applied Science in Prague, Czech Republic.

I was looking for a life changing experience and an opportunity to develop and educate myself. I have always been curious about studying abroad. While I was choosing where to do my Erasmus study, I made my own research about the countries, universities, and the cost of living and so on. It took me a long time.

Two years ago I would have recommended you to start the preparation as early as possible but today I wouldn’t.

There is a new website www.businessculture.org which can help you to get ready for the new experience abroad without any efforts. The website provides information in 9 different languages about 31 countries across Europe. This website could give an opportunity to increase your awareness about the study placements abroad and business opportunities.

If this site existed two years ago, I would not have lost so much time to make my own research because the information here is very well systematized, useful and easy to find. The information covers the main work & life related topics such as cultural taboos, education level, business communication, business etiquette, internship and student placements, cost of living, work-life-balance, social activities, etc.

The Passport to Trade 2.0 project will give you valuable insights about your upcoming life and will help you in your future endeavours. Read, watch and enjoy the preparation of your new life with the www.businessculture.org. I highly recommend it to you!

The six things you must know about Germany

Maria SlavovaI am a recent graduate from Warwick Business School and during my third year of studies, I spent an exchange year in Munich, Germany. This guide would have definitely helped me settle in quicker. Especially, for students from lower income families, the cost of living is a matter of utmost importance. That is why the information about average example prices is very useful.

1. Germans prefer to use cash and not credit cards

Germans are still very fond of cash although cash cards are gradually becoming more popular. However, they do not use credit cards very often as is the case in many other Western countries. I found the report on Germany comprehensive and useful.

As is mentioned in the report, Germany is renowned for its education system which has long standing traditions and a complicated structure. It is important for foreign students to get acquainted with it before coming to the country and the websites given provide a good description.

2. Importance of work experience

The report accurately highlights the importance of work experience, which is interwoven in the education system. Students do their first placement while still in school and receive feedback on their performance. There are numerous opportunities for work placements during university studies. Practical experience is highly important in Germany and foreign students quite often overlook this fact when applying for jobs in the country.

The application process could last quite a long time, so like the report suggests it is advisable to apply several months in advance. Ensuring that all documents are in place and finding accommodation is also very important. The list with websites for placements is very convenient.

3. Healthcare system in Germany

The healthcare system in Germany is very well organized and foreign students are required to have health insurance. The report provides a website with information about visas and work permits which is also very important when looking for a work placement in Germany.

4. Xing is currently more popular than LinkedIn in Germany

Like in the other European countries, social networks in Germany are becoming more and more important for finding work and establishing contacts. The professional network Xing is currently more popular than LinkedIn and many people seek employment through it.

5. Importance of punctuality and planning

One cannot overstress the importance of punctuality and planning in the German business culture. The section on Business communication in Germany presents a good overview of the do’s and don’ts in a German work setting. Following business etiquette is essential.

6. German taboo subjects

Germans are very sensitive when it comes to discussing topics like World War II so one needs to be very cautious not to offend them. The division of private and work life is very clear and is important that foreigners are aware of this so not to get a wrong impression. It makes a good impression if one knows typical gestures like rapping the knuckles against the table top at the end of a presentation or a lecture.

Overall I found the report on Germany instructive and would recommend it to students looking for placements in Germany.

By Mariya Slavova

Learn about social media marketing strategies

I am a freelance mechanical engineer and I collaborate with many manufacturing businesses organizing their production and helping them design new products.

I learnt about Passport to Trade 2.0 and its website through the process of its development as I participated in a focus group with businesses from my region discussing the possibilities of social media and the notion of social media etiquette.

At that time I considered myself as a person who knew how to deal with social media and how to use them efficiently for business purposes. Yet, in the discussion I realized that there are so many things I did not know, such as the different approach of different nationalities towards social media, the variances in their popularity, their suitability for different social media marketing strategies etc. This experience made me recognize the usefulness of the businessculture.org website and its great potential in helping SMEs from different countries.

The structure of the website is very clear and practical for any user and the information provided is extremely useful. I hope that it will be kept updated.

Kyriakos Papadopoulos, mechanical engineer

Facebook company profile repaid my time within a week!

Trochides-LtdI never imagined that social media could be used for business purposes. Once I was sent a newsletter about Passport to Trade 2.0 and navigated myself through the website and all the information that included. I found the International Business Culture resource really interesting.

My company – Trochides Ltd – operates in the area of Commercial Refrigeration for food storing and food service equipment.

I always wanted to introduce my business to new markets, but, I have never actually did anything about it, thinking that marketing abroad would be very expensive for me. So, following the advice on the businessculture.org website, I created a Facebook profile of my company.

Within a week I was contacted by an Italian wholesaler wanting to distribute my products to the Italian market!

This experience made me think of social media as an indispensable tool for reaching markets abroad and for creating business collaborations. Now I try to learn about the business etiquette and the way I should present myself in business meetings with my new counterparts abroad.

John Trochides, owner of Trochides Ltd

Good instrument for students, companies and every manager

trepuntoz3ro.itOur agency deals with communication and knows the complexity of interactions among different cultures. Sometimes just giving a simple business card can create misunderstanding.

For example, the Japanese view the business card as an extension of a person, while Americans view it as a business formality and a convenience. Consequently, while the Japanese handle business cards with great care, making certain to put them in a safe places, Americans are quick to put them away and thus often end up insulting the Japanese.

A good communication focuses not only on languages but also on many aspects often neglected. Gestures, objects, rituals, status symbol, interpersonal distances are a great part of the act of communication. People don’t exchange words but messages. This is the reason why an attentive analysis and knowledge of the intrinsic values of every interaction are of prime importance in order to avoid misunderstandings, especially in a working environment.

Communication through Social Media in Italy is not so different as in other European countries, in terms of netiquette. Thanks to Passport to Trade 2.0 project, we learnt that these tools are not well adopted by SMEs. In Italy and in the majority of Europe, companies understand the value of Social Media marketing to communicate with their clients, but they are not yet able to capitalise the potential in their business.

For us, the most interesting sections of P2T2 are those pertaining to business communication, business etiquette and business meeting etiquette.

The Passport to Trade 2.0 guides are a good instrument for students, companies and every manager who wants, as we do, to enter international market.

Factory 3.0