Exploring the international market can be an exhilarating ride, throwing yourself into new cultures and widening your scope of reference, but going into it with your eyes open is crucial.

Are you ready to get outside your comfort zone, stretch your abilities and embrace a new culture? If the answer is yes, then an international career might be for you.

The benefits are vast, from the chance to understand a new market inside-out to accelerating career progression, but there are challenges as well. Working in a new market requires curiosity, patience and an appreciation that what you learned at home may no longer be relevant.

Adrian Farina, head of marketing for Europe at Visa, started his marketing career at Pizza Hut in his native Argentina, before becoming an assistant brand manager at Procter & Gamble (P&G). After two years in Argentina he moved with the FMCG giant to Venezuela, Brazil and Chile.

The language barrier in Brazil proved the biggest leap in terms of cultural context. Farina invested time and energy trying to understand the culture, putting himself into high-speed mode to learn Portuguese so he could fully embrace his new environment.

“Going doesn’t mean staying in a hotel, going means spending time on the streets seeing how people shop, consume and have conversations,” Farina says. “If you can do that first hand without needing a translator the better, because you can capture the nuances.”

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